I was at Columbia University. The place was nothing like I had imagined. Firstly, it was located very conveniently, 10 steps from a subway entrance. Even inside the subway station, there was a mosaic saying COLUMBIA. I was expecting a sprawling campus, where one could easily get lost and was surprised at how small the place really was. It is my fault really, for expecting something like that in the middle(ok!! maybe not middle!!) of NYC. The students seemed to have none of the brash intellectual arrogance I thought they would. Their faces were not aglow with, what we call in India,’tejas’; that inner fire that burns in the eyes, and radiates its aura in all directions. Their walk was not brisk purposeful strides. Isn’t this supposed to be one of the best schools in the country? Aren’t these supposed to be some of the brightest minds? They looked so, ordinary.
Then it struck me, maybe that is what the University does. It grinds and polishes the students so that they sparkle like diamonds. It puts them through the fires, and when they come out the shine like gold.
edited – I have now realized, they have quite a huge campus and about the students, I think that was just the Holidays.