STEP MEMORIES- One hell of a ride!

Gokul Hariharan Janardhan

April 4, 2019

Disclaimer : Previously published on Thump 6.0, IIMU’s yearly Alumni Magazine

I always had the idea of going to Europe from a very young age. But then, many kids do. Whether it is the idea of witnessing the sites of the two wars, or watching the aurora borealis dance in front of your eyes or is it just the notion of a three-month-long Europe trip, the purpose is always the same -a preposterous lifetime experience that you will never be able to recreate. As the international relations committee adjured the first horns of ‘STEP’, the European dream was conceived. Thus, began the worst part of it all; visa, VFS, flight tickets, accommodation and what not. This is perhaps the only part of this journey that you don’t want to remember.

My idea of the STEP was simple. I will travel as much as possible, as much as I can, even if that meant less sleep and less food (some days Google fit indicated that I had walked up to 24 kms!). I chose the school EM Normandie because that’s what I ended up getting (owing to my “awesome” CGPA). EMN is a wonderful school with its prestigious faculty from all over the world. The real idea of what a global school is, sinks in when you have Russians, Azerbaijanis, Swedish, French and English students as your classmates. But again, I wanted to travel. I had arrived ten days prior to when the classes were supposed to begin, so I started with a long trip: Belgium, Amsterdam, Nice and Monaco (exotic isn’t it).

As the classes started, I began making weekend trips. These were short and exciting ones with little opportunities to rest. Fair to say, I slept at railways stations, airports, cycle stands (in my defence, it was freezing outside), hostels and even luxury ships. We went to the north of Sweden to witness the northern lights, ‘almost’ trekked Cherag, ferried the beautiful waters of Switzerland and witnessed many major historic cities. It was inevitably exhilarating and at the same time hustling. Planning to travel the upcoming week kept us all busy, in spite of our cooking tenures.

Honestly, life seems a lot emptier now. There is so much time and so little excitement in life. Those small gatherings in the mediaeval European churches, the polite people, the rendezvous with friends from other colleges at different European cities, the Carrefour markets, and the running behind TGVs, all make it look like one big dream. As I stood at Cabo Da Roca on my last trip, I realised that it’d been more than 180 trains, 10+ flights and