Let me very frank about it. I was highly disappointed in my first semester at UoH. But things began to take a turn when we organized ‘Hasta la vista’-a novel farewell programme for our seniors. It was an event which saw the participation of every single student of our class. It was wonderful getting to know each other, a little better. A class pic at the end of the year, followed by a short video named ‘Wildlife Photography’ shot in the new fancy phone by JVM (as we dearly call Prof. J.V.M Sarma) which was floated to each one of us on mail is indeed a beautiful memory. Frankly, none of us is quite sure about what the spark was. Probably, it was a Mass Communication Department’s journal found at a dear friend’s room. The idea of starting a departmental journal was born there. It so happened that a friend, who perpetually comes late to class, topped that semester and got the privilege to be part of a meeting with all the faculty members when this idea was tabled. Prof. A.V Raja, the then head of the erstwhile Department of Economics, gave a conditional go ahead to the idea, with a note that the Department should not be approached for any funds. Prof. Omkarnath gave a new lead – that an organization named Young Economist School existed a few years back with Placement Cell, a discussion group and a newsletter as part of it. On a reality check, it was found that the discussion group and newsletter had become extinct. The case was presented in front of our class and we got to revive YES on the 7th of September, 2012 with five new societies – The Alumni Cell, Economics Discussion Group (EDG), the Journal Team, the Economics Placement Cell (EPC) and Samvedhna, the social service and eco club. Since I have told the YES story at each of the events we organized, I should restrict myself from being repetitive. Nostalgia 2013, Project Akshara, Pareto Times and National Economics Conference 2013 were initiatives by the YES Team in that year. But I have never got an opportunity to express our gratitude to many in this regard.
It will take a whole journal to mention the names of every single person who helped us through, beginning with Mr. Raja who agreed to print invites for our first event Nostalgia 2013 with a post-event payment, Donbok Lang Majaw (S.N School), Ajay Sakarwal (Statistics) and Gaurav (M.C.A) who helped us with posters and banners voluntarily, Shawn Sebastian (S.N School) who helped us with photographs for all our events and the promo video for Project Akshara, Chandrima Mazumdar (Chemistry) with decorations during events and many more from all Departments and Schools.
I remember the days when the admin block turned out to be my second home, how the VC was finally fed up seeing my face every second day, how I used to barge in the PRO’s office everyday with the silliest issues which Ashish Sir used to solve in a second treating me over lemon tea and peanuts, how Goud Sir (VC’s personal secretary) used to say ‘YES ‘ to every stupid thing I said and how he blessed me with that special smile of his when I left the University after my course, how Upender Sir (Placement Coordinator), Vijaya Ma’am and Arun Sir (PRO’s office) were always there to answer any query of mine and to reassure me that everything is gonna be alright, every time I was upset over something. I would totally say that the highlight of my University is the lovely, approachable people out there led by a wonderful human, Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, the Vice-Chancellor.
I am totally indebted in my life to another great human being on campus – Dr. Laxminarayana. I would really fall short of words if I have to talk about how Sir has transformed the way I looked at issues, how Sir simplified life and, showed me how dedicated one can be for a cause he/she works for. Project Akshara was just one of the many initiatives we had undertaken under YES, when it began but my association with Dr.Laxminarayana and the valuable insights Sir shared during the Economics of Education classes in fact turned out to be a revelation for me.
I would be doing injustice if I don’t thank each faculty member of the School of Economics, especially Prof. R. Vijay who almost chucked me out of his course but was kind enough to play ‘holi’ with us later and many more. It was indeed a miracle that I cleared my course. I am sure that prayers of all members of the office of the School of Economics were behind it especially Basha Sir.
It was wonderful two years at University of Hyderabad. I would say all the ‘I’s in this write-up should be replaced by ‘We’ in fact. We did all these mischief as a team and we all have the same story to tell, then and even now. Earlier we had YES and now the story is PENCIL. PENCIL (Primary Education Needs and Community Initiated Learning) is a small organization we have started which is working for the uplift of primary education across the country. PENCIL is indeed inspired from the success of Project Akshara, initiated by us under YES banner at two government primary schools near the University in Gopanpally. PENCIL has got two projects running presently – Project Fireflies at Chengannur, Kerala and I Begin Campaign at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. We are continuing our mischief together as a team but for a cause.
Signing off for now but hope to be back soon on UoH Herald with more PENCIL stories and also it is quite possible that some names might have been left but we promise we will make it up if given another chance 😉 … –Anshu Priya, Manya Budhiraja, Sahil Chopra, Stanzin Staen and Vinitha Rachel Varghese.