From Powai to Joka

Here follows a rather light-hearted and hopefully, quirky comparison between IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta.

Hostels: As I arrived at Joka, an ignorant fresher, I was delighted to have been allotted the New Hostel. It was only later I realised that it had been “new” some decades back but the name had stuck. Nonetheless, even the most modest hostel here in terms of infrastructure still beats the best UG hostels of IIT Bombay. There are no 2 ways about it. But on the upside, hostel feelings and rivalries run stronger in the hostels on the West coast. Part of the reason obviously being a 4 year stay there compared to a 2 year one here. And also that perhaps undergraduates are more prone to indulge in idling away time than business school students? Open to debate. One striking similarity between my time at Hostel 3 in IIT Bombay and NH in Joka has been the enviable abundance of fauna. I thought I had seen my fair share of cats, dogs, insects and snakes. But I was proven wrong and how. Of course, we do not have the leopard sightings here at Joka. But Monty and his family (Experts still disagree as to the exact number) more than make up for it. One aspect where Joka really trumps Powai is when it comes to the non- student population in the hostel. Yes, I am referring to Kotler da, Sammy, Dhobi Aunty, Vishal da and several others. The sense of allegiance and love they have for us here is quite overwhelming at times. Hostel 3 often had a shifting population of workers who did not stay long enough to establish a name or relationship.

Academics: I am doing as badly here as I was there. So I reckon they must both be equally tough. On a more serious note, while the papers set here are easier in nature, the competition is much tougher. In undergraduate college, lukkha was a way of life. Here it is less so and understandably. People come here with some more focus and understanding of what they are targeting than they did at undergrad level. Most people, I mean.

Campus: Sorry not sorry, but IIT Bombay’s beauty is breath-taking. With its nearly 500 acre campus liberally filled with greenery, hills and a great lake, I am afraid Powai scores it over Joka here. But only narrowly. I say so because Joka has a kind of unmitigated and virgin beauty to it which insti( IIT-B) does not. While perhaps not as aesthetic, the ruggedness and untamed flora here give it a unique touch. The motto at Joka regarding this seems to be “Live and let live” in the truest sense of the phrase.

Professors: Much more interactive classes here. Knowledge is a 2 way street here. Of course, that is also because of the nature of subjects here which demand discussion. But on the whole, I leave class here feeling that I have learnt more than I did at insti. The marks remain the same though, as I might have mentioned earlier.

Parties: No prizes for guessing. Joka is the undisputed baap here. Revelry of the highest order at that. There seems to be a party for the mildest of occasions. And not to forget the parties which sprout for literally no reason, DJ and all.

People: Putting this at the end because I, like everyone else, wanted to use the phrase “last but not the least”. The people are wonderful, hands down. There is a great and genuine desire on everyone’s part to help the other. One finds people to chill with and also those to confide in (yes, they do not always intersect). Be it academics or sports, there is always someone around to join you. Even while the stakes are higher at a B-school and time is more precious, people are always there to join in for a laugh. Especially when the joke is on you. Being fair to IIT Bombay, same was the case there too.

What does that say? Brilliant, likeable and helpful people everywhere! One just needs to be open minded and positive.

Well, that’s it then from me. Hope that gave you reasons for an occasional laugh and frequent smiles.

Reported by:
Niranjan Jha