Monday, July 26, 2010

Wherein started the freshers party ? The Eastern Economy edition.For sale in India only.

Party animals and early morning classes the next day have as much love lost between them as hare and fox over the last millenia. SIIB's Freshers party for the batch of 2012 yesterday night at St.Laurns and after having attended classes at 9 am the next day prompted a question in one : Freshers party after they have served the symbolic ice-breaking , foot-looseness and mass camaraderie of being at one spot on earth for two years:has it served the same role over the many years Freshers party would have been in place in India under various names at various points in time.

Say, we are in the age of warriors and farmers, the kings and the sorcerers about 900 years back.

The freshers party of soldiers 900 years back would have (if they were recruited during peace time, and not in war time : the ones recruited during emergency possibly would have little luxuries attached to their initial days)  included a warm meal and steady source of income.The soldiers would have been given a  place to stay and possibly a weapon to practice.At a practice ground , the drill sergeant would have bellowed:

"The glorious kingdom of BlogHypotheticalPlace asks you to do what is necessary to carry our Most Venerable Emperor(or Queen)'s vision.Your life from henceforth belongs to the Army of the BlogHypotheticalPlace, and we expect discipline ,patriotism and the supreme sacrifice,if needed. Eat and drink for tomorrow we fight"( notice the subtle throwaways to Hollywood dialogues).

A gulp or two would have passed down in the young soldier's mind when he heard of phrases like "supreme sacrifice".But hey ,"we are in the Army now" as the song goes.

You're in the army now / Oh, oh you're in the army - now  / You've got your orders to shoot on sight / your finger's on the trigger / but it don't seem right

The Royal Chefs would have possibly planned for the young ones who had decided to devote their lives to smells and crunches divine.

"Hey, you there young lad.Yes, I mean you. Chop these forty kilos of onions for today's lunch . After that , it's those bags of onions which need to be peeled.And do not forget to make sure there is enough firewood for the next ten days in the storeroom.  By the way , welcome to the Royal Kitchen.At all times never forget that food is our route to the king's heart, and not of the oily-route some foods give.Our food may decide the mood of the king and often may lead to increased taxes for the peasants if we fail to deliver."

The legend of Akbar's khichdee would be then lovingly told to the young recruit.And then it is off to the lowly ranks of peeling and cutting,before some years down the line the young cook would move up a notch to more "value-added processes" in cooking(notice the subtle throwaways to management jargon).

The best(if that is the right word) freshers party would have to be that of the farmer. The family enterprise that a farming family is,it is likely that all the members of the family from an early age would have had a chance to participate in the farming process ( we will exclude the large landowner from this discussion :the life of manor born usually rests on that money can make work-from-an-early-age a needless concept). The freshers party would have been at a very early hour , much before the sun came out. An early breakfast, and the farmer would instruct the young hands of what needs to be done for the day.The mandatory speech:

"Nature expects diligence ,and she mother earth rewards well.If the gods are kind and we have done our duty of working hard before the rains and the right amount of sunshine will give us a bounty. Lads and lasses, this is going to be hard work ,but we will be rewarded at harvest.So gear up and let that shovel move"(Digression: In Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers,a theory is presented of how folks from South China are found to be good in maths, and the reason is attributed to the traditional farming practices of the region)

Universities, many centuries down the line of course do not have to give such facts-of-life at freshers parties. Arranged and stage-managed, and the fun is the only operating motto.It is our way of saying:" welcome all ye, new students. We open our doors to the best and the finest, and in celebration we shall make merry."

Welcome SIIB Batch of 2012.

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