Those nostalgic days(1)

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Life at a professional institute could be very exciting. It all depends on how well you manage your studies and social activities which later in the life follow you down the memory lane. Here is one …

Life at a professional institute could be very exciting. It all depends on how well you manage your studies and social activities which later in the life follow you down the memory lane. Here is one such nostalgic recollection after 46 years…

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  • 1. Those Nostalgic DaysBY: RAM GUPTAYes, looking back 46 years I feel that those were thenostalgic days of my life. Just completed my BScsecond year, I was desperate to get on with aprofession. The choices were - ChemicalEngineering in Kashmir or motion picturephotography at the Film Institute or hotelmanagement in Delhi. What they say is right, whenhe gives he gives with both hands, three choices. Iwas not confused at all, the choice was made, I hadto take up the service industry as a profession and Ihave never regretted it. Remember, while you have
  • 2. your senior family members to advise you on yourprofession, their thinking will be biased on whatthey like or what dreams they could not pursue.Always listen to your own inner call, do what youlike best because only then can you excel. I did thesame.So that was how it was meant to be. Those hutmentsin Pusa complex were going to be my temple for thenext three years. I started liking everything about theinstitute. Those cement floored corridors, come tothink of it; there was just one “L” shaped corridoropening into a huge lawn adorned with class roomson the other side. There was a small laundry, bakeryroom, advanced training kitchen, basic trainingkitchen and a bulk cooking room. Yes we also hadthe canning and food preservation training roomstucked in between. The student dining room was avery small yet cozy affair.There was a lot of excitement before we actuallystarted the first day. Getting our uniforms stitched -the chef’s coat or the cap, the restaurant servicewhite jacket and so on. I will never forget my firstday; it was an experience of a lifetime. The first
  • 3. class was in BTC. For a person who was from astrict vegetarian family where even onions werebanned, I had to straight away jump on to makingstock, wash the bones and cook the stock. Iremember that for a week the smell and feel of boneswas lingering on my fingers. But I was determinedto not only move ahead but to excel in all areas. Thetestaments were quick to come; I topped the firstyear’s half yearly tests. The same feat was repeatedby me in the final exams.The most enjoyable period was the first week whenthe fresher’s are alone; the seniors join a week later.I feel that all educational institutions should followthis system. It makes a fresher comfortable in a newenvironment which in turn helps to acclimatizethem. The first week concludes with very friendlyevents between the faculty and the freshers. Allfreshers come in fancy dresses. We all did enjoythis event. Except for the fact that I was in a totallynew environment, the first year was smooth sailingfor most of us.We shifted to the new building in the second year.Mr. Simms, our Principal from the U.K., went back
  • 4. and very soon we had the opportunity to welcomeDr. Mitbunder, as the new OSD of the institute. Thenew building was a treat. Fresh, well planned, anopen layout and spacious class rooms and labs. Thehousekeeping practicals added freshness to a brandnew product.One day, I think it was in the month of October, Ihad gone to the office of Dr. Mitbunder and that iswhen I interacted with him for the first time. I foundhim to be very friendly, yet a totally professionalindividual. I mentioned to him that it was high timefor the Institute to have its logo and its importance inthe establishment of the institute’s identity. Well,you know what, he smiled and said, “yes you have apoint….Why don’t you design something and bringit to me, if we like it, we will reward you”, “Me?Designing the logo?? , I could give it a try definitely,but I am not a professional designer”, “I know” hesaid, “but you have a passion, or else you wouldhave never thought of it”.That had made my day. I embarked upon the task inall earnestness. Those days we did not have access tothe Internet and the only way to research was to read
  • 5. books. I scanned the British library, found somerelevant information on logo designing, visualcommunications and other related topics. At thispoint I would like to emphasize - If you have noticedpostage stamps, you would know that a small pieceof paper sometimes conveys a long story, even acentury long story. Armed with these two tools, I satdown on a Saturday evening determined to finish mytask of designing the logo. I had to depict the serviceaspect of the industry, the fact that our basic productis accommodation, food & beverage, we sell comfortand luxury and we do all this with an invisiblemanagerial crown on our head. It practically took meover six hours to put all symbolic pieces of the logoin a logical and presentable sequence and then fitinto a square shape. I then thought of a motto forthose who will wear this as a crest on their blazers“Learn To Serve” and finally finished the logo.Next day was Sunday, perhaps the longest of mylife. I could hardly wait for the Monday morningwhen I would proudly present this piece of creativeart that I had designed. I could finally meet Dr.Mitbunder at around 11.30. Smiling, I handed overthe covered logo design to him. He took a few
  • 6. minutes to study and inspect my work and those fewminutes seemed like years to me. In between hewould raise his eyebrows and smile. After aboutfive minutes of studying the logo minutely, heplaced it in front of him and asked me to explain thetotal concept. He listened patiently nodding here andthere while I took my time to explain the details ofmy work. When I finished, he stood up, shook myhands and said “Ram, I like the logo and the conceptvery much, you have symbolized all aspects of thisprofession beautifully”. If I remember correctly, ittook the institute almost a week to make a formalannouncement on the adoption of the logo. So mycreation became the official logo insignia ofIHMC&N, Pusa. That was the proudest day for me.
  • 7. The Logo concept as conceived by me in 1967The days at the institute were full of highs andlows but all in all they were the most enjoyabledays. The faculty was very helpful andunderstanding, we had small classes and by thetime we reached the final year, we were justunder 20 students. In the third year, I had myfirst brush with real politics. I was elected as theGeneral Secretary of the Students Association.We organized a very successful Fete and anextremely successful cultural evening to markthe opening of Institute’s auditoriums. While
  • 8. doing all this I never lost sight of my goal - toexcel in my academics. Well if you worktowards your goals with determination, focusand a positive attitude, nothing is impossible.They were fun filled and hardworking days andbefore I could realize, our student life at theinstitute came to an end. I topped the lists in thefinals and my name adorned the toppers list inthe institute as an inspiration for the newgeneration of students joining the hospitalityindustry. As for me, I stepped out of the instituteand took on my first job at the India TourismDevelopment Corporation, well equipped withthe skills and knowledge that I acquired in thisvery esteemed institute – my alma mater.Today, after four decades, when I look back Iam surprised at the distance I have travelled butwhen I look ahead….there are miles to go.This article was written for publication in theofficial souvenir released on the Golden JubileeCelebrations of the Institute of Hotel
  • 9. Management, Catering & Nutrition, Pusa, NewDelhi, India held on 14th September, 2012.Ram Gupta is a professional hotelier with over four decades of experience inIndia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has completed his hotel managementstudies from The Institute of Hotel Management Catering & Nutrition, Pusa, NewDelhi and has done higher studies from Germany. A Member of Institute ofHospitality, U.K., he is also a Certified Hotel Administrator from U.S.A. He hasworked for some of the best hotel chains and was associated with over two dozenhotel projects in varying capacities. He has served on a number of trade bodiesand boards of various companies. He is now an independent consultant in theIndustry. His web site can be viewed at and can be contactedat SEPTEMBER, 2012 © BUSINESS CONSULTING GROUP GLOBAL