Sometime in the eighteenth century, Linnaeus laid down the basics of classification of diverse life forms. This led to developments that we are all too aware of, complicated stuff all Greek and Latin to most of us and endless tension during exam times. This, of course, did not mean that all the species have been found and properly classified. New theories keep coming up all the time forcing us to reorient our thinking. A recent study carried out jointly at the Universities of N Carolina and Arizona by Profs Kulkarni and Kulkarni (research sponsorship promised by Mahindra and Mahindra) and coordinated by Prof Gaitonde (PICAA IITB) has brought out some starting facts about species homo alumnus. This study was confined to the alumnus of IIT Bombay but could well be extended to the entire species.
The sub-species are likely to experience an urge to participate in the alumni activities and are not averse to going to any extent to contact and bring others of the species together
As per the findings of the study, the species is far from homogenous as it was long held, and can be further classified into four sub-species; each with a different neural make up.
We publish below an abstract of the findings. Those interested in the details can await the publication of full treatise in the forthcoming issue of Nature and / or log on to the site www.homoalumnus.edu.
The research indicates that, on an average, these specimens require 3 years 7 months and 14 days to wake up to the fact that some important event like Silver Jubilee get-together has passed them by without them noticing it
There has also been an instant where a specimen claimed that he has forgotten in which hostel he had spent the 4/5 years of his stay in IIT
The general characteristics of the species being by and large present in all the sub-species, it is quite common for a specimen of one sub-species to be mistaken for another and sometimes traits belonging to one becoming manifest in another. But still the researchers have reason to believe that these divisions among sub-species do exist and the classification needs to be modified to incorporate these findings.
Alumnus promptus (or Prompt Peters in everyday parlance): This sub-species is characterized by a strong memory and a well-developed area in the ‘association cortex’ part of brain which is considered to be the centre of all nostalgic feelings. As a result, the sub-species is likely to experience an urge to participate in the alumni activities and is not averse to going to any extent to contact and bring others of the species together, not necessarily only the A. Promptus variety.
Alumnus retardus (or Late Latifs): This sub-species is characterized by a weak memory and a lazy disposition. Specimens belonging to this sub-species require constant prodding, cajoling and even threats to get activated even if it is for the common good of the species. A. Retardus sometimes seem to suffer from delusions of their own importance in the scheme of things and have perfected the art of cash-flow planning. However, once activated, these have a tendency to get vociferous and start demanding that they be accorded priority in everything as befits their deemed status.
Alumnus regrettus (or Regretful Robins): This sub-species is characterized by a certain touch of schizophrenia. They may have a fairly strong memory and a well-developed ‘association cortex’, sometimes as developed as the A. Promptus, but in their case the association cortex is under the influence of the limbic system, the part of brain which is the centre of work and family related emotions. This leads to a certain amount of vacillating behaviour and a sense of melancholia as the association cortex is not allowed to play its rightful role.
Alumnus ignoramus (or Ignorant Ibrahims): This is the most interesting sub-species of all as the specimens vie with each other in exploring the unknown frontiers of bliss. The research indicates that, on an average, these specimens require 3 years 7 months and 14 days to wake up to the fact that some important event like Silver Jubilee get-together has passed them by without them noticing it. There has also been an instant where a specimen claimed that he has forgotten in which hostel he had spent the 4/5 years of his stay in IIT. (Rejoice ye classmates of mine, for the honor does not belong to us. Thank God for small mercies.) As yet, the researchers have not come across a case where some specimen has claimed that he had forgotten which IIT he passed out from. But with number of IITs about to grow and the intake of students set to explode, the researchers opine that the day may not be too far when that milestone is also reached.
Readers who are keen to understand the basics of behaviour of alumni as a species may refer to the standard textbooks available in the Central Library, viz:
“Alumni: Their Natural Habitat and Behavioural Patterns” by Al Muni (grand-nephew of late actor Paul Muni)
“Alumni and Half-life of Their Relation with Alma Mater” by Stew Dent
Post Script: Long before Fundamatics was born there was another individual who wrote under the pseudo name Lazybee. This article was originally published as a part of his Silver Jubilee Reunion and we have reproduced it for your edification as the work of the original Lazybee. We cannot tell you who he is but leave you with a clue – he belongs to the class of 1976.