The new batch at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Lucknow has students from all the 29 states of the country.
Professor Devashish Das Gupta hit upon the idea to engage his students in a football match to help the men and women, who belong to diverse backgrounds and speak different languages, shed their reservations and develop a team spirit.
And that the idea worked was evident from the match played on Wednesday.
Students from south India were encouraged to make a commentary in Hindi, a language they are not very familiar with. In fact, commentary for the match was done in 10 regional languages by students.
Tamil Nadu’s Krishna Kumar tickled everyone’s funny bones with his innovative literary skills in Hindi. “The match helped bridge the gap between me and my batchmates,” Kumar said.
Dolika Garg, the captain of the women’s team, said it was fun being on the ground, warming up and forming a bond with other women.
“Most of us were playing football for the first time and that made it all the more memorable and enjoyable. The practice sessions helped me unwind and gave me a lot of enjoyment and a host of memories to cherish,” Garg said.
The men’s football team captain, Pratik Pednekar, brought together the players, pulling them away from the library and hostel rooms every day to the football ground to practice.
“Any quiz, assignment or project did not affect those hours of practice. It was a way to laugh, shout, express and feel freely,” Laveena Saxena said.
For class representative Rahul Kamath they are now more of a family than just classmates.
Dasgupta said the unity and integrity of the class were the biggest takeaways.
“Football and many other sports have an ability to bring students close in a short span of time. It was a fun-filled event, bringing together the students from diverse backgrounds for a common goal,” he said.