Friday, January 6, 2012:
Chris Whitman, the tech guy for our trip and senior at Marquette
, requested to see one of Louis Khan
’s architectural wonders here in Ahmedabad, India. Louis Khan designed one of the top management institutes in all of India, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
(IIMA). The students in the program at Xavier’s
explain that for every person that gets in, there are approximately 600 applications. I couldn’t believe this so I asked a few Jesuits and they said it is true. To fulfill Chris’ wish we left the confining, gloomy lab and went for an adventure while the students continued to be diligent and pound away on the keyboards.
Chris, Carole and Dr. Byers tried going to IIMA the day before but were denied entrance because they didn’t have their passports. To this I said, “Now, who said we should carry our passports at all times?” and then we all chuckled, except for Chris who was really sad. We made it up to him the next day though when we went back and had all of the papers necessary. At the front gate we had to leave our passports, something that scared the daylights out of me. Everyone knows you don’t leave your identity unprotected, but it is common practice here. Dr. Byers gave the security men, who had stern faces and never smiled, received a slip to collect our passports at the end of our visit and we were off to explore. Chris’ face was beaming with excitement, it was a little cute to see him "geek out" as he says.
As we walked throughout the campus we saw students playing cricket, one ball almost hit me…. Shocking considering my other adventures at this point. The atmosphere was extremely soothing, with the green space and trees all around, pots with vibrant flowers on stairways and roundabout, everything was peaceful and welcoming. It was a nice getaway from the loud lab. Khan made the most of natural light in his architecture (Chris’ shared knowledge has stuck with me) as the large circles in the sides of the buildings shed light on the hallways and staircases. Everything is naturally lit and would be stunning in the evening.
We wandered around the campus, taking pictures of the architecture, Chris holding the school up with his mighty strength and used Khan’s architectural style to our advantage for a family photo. Here, three boys came up and wanted to be in the picture. How can you say no to such beautiful and innocent smiles?
When we left we received our passports, all pages intact and identities not stolen. On our walk back things that reminded us of home greeted us. A school bus, a barbershop, stacks of books. The walk reiterated the fact that our time was coming to an end faster than we predicted and that I am not ready to go home, but at the same time I am. I’m in a limbo stage right now, but seeing these things made me chuckle and be at peace for the time being.