A is in the last stages of having his dinner in the famed East Canteen with live entertainment (in the form of scuttling rats) and candle light ambience (on all days but in certain corners only). B joins A. Now A’s dining ritual is tending towards completion yet B in his ignorance, feigned or otherwise, has still joined A.

How long should A, whose dinner is almost done, wait for B in such a situation?

Keen observation and several MEI dinners later, scientists have deciphered the factors that determine the time that A will wait for B.

The time is directly proportional to

- The size of the intersection of their social circles. i.e. the number of mutual friends that they have.
- The days that A has not met B.
- The number of favors that B can do for A. (e.g. exchange of library duty, giving competent cells, helping with assignments etc.)
- The number of favors that B has done for A.
- The number of treks that they have been together on.
- The number of technical terms that B uses frequently and which A understands. E.g. cytokinesis, Euler buckling, Sandpile model, Euclidean space, etc. (Putting it another way whether or not they are from similar fields)
- The number of social causes B espouses.
- The number of books, movies, etc that B owns that A is interested in.
- The number of mood altering substances they have had together.

- The time that A had been sitting at the table before B joined.
- The number of people at the table other than A and B.
- The difference in the years of their joining. (e.g. 2002 – 2007=5)
- The number of days B has not taken a shower.
- The number of favors that A could theoretically do for B
- The distance between their respective home towns. (See Addendum below)

Admittedly the actual relationships of all the factors are complex and involve other emotional factors which cannot be quantitated but this is major step in deciphering the complex social dynamics at MEI and will help in understanding that greatest of enigmas - the MEI student.

(*** - Addendum - Consider a line drawn between the two respective hometowns and an imaginary mid point at the exact center of this line. It can now be said that the effect of “distance between hometowns” factor is more complex as its effect in turn increases exponentially as increase in the distance of said imaginary midpoint from Mumbai, location of MEI. A very subtle jibe there if you can get it!)

[Some creative inputs from S.J., P. S. and S.S. MEI here standing for My Esteemed Institute - a place of some repute I am told.]