The Art of Losing

Alak Renukuntla

The first two months at INSEAD (Period 1) has been a roller-coaster ride. It has demanded me to be an organizational freak, to be excellent at managing time and to master saying no more often. Hence, I have already failed often. Despite being in this chaos, I managed to create somewhat of a fine balance.

I started writing a diary more often. Every day seems like a few, each immensely eventful. My most memorable events so far are the communal dinners. The dinner guest list is never only as long as you intended it to be. If the chefs prepare a meal for six, it turns out being a meal for twelve. It forces all of us to create and share the warmth of a communal meal. Little goes a long way at the dining tables of INSEAD Fontainbleau residents. There is a serious lack of good restaurants here, so we resort to house-parties and dinners often, and it brings us closer.

To think that we only have five weeks to the end of Period 2 is disconcerting. We'll all head different ways, but to know that I shared the dining table with some of you, one cold evening, in a town that is literally in the middle of a forest, is heartwarming. Moments such as these have made my time here rewarding.

I am guessing I will master the art of losing most. I reckon, it is true for many others as well. No one speaks of this better than Elizabeth Bishop in her poem One Art. My study group of five has been a psychological home away from home. However, INSEAD is also a place where you could be surrounded by a hundred people and yet feel lonely. This condition certainly makes us behave in ways which we cannot predict. This self-discovery has been one of the most interesting aspects of the journey thus far.

There are many sources of inspiration and motivation around me. Some people bring insane levels of hard work and dedication into their endeavours. Thankfully, the pathos is contagious!