“The saddest moment during my time at Columbia,” says Vikramaditya Kapur, CC ‘18, “was when Cannons closed down. The second saddest was when Bernheim and Schwartz did.” Though he contends that “vibrant is pushing it” when it comes to the infamously stagnant social scene here of which he has been a mainstay, Kapur maintains that he would have his wedding at Mel’s, and traces the origins of many of his closest and most enduring friendships to bars around Columbia. He is emphatic in his assertion that “there is a good time to be had,” though it helps that his friends all enjoy going out as well. “Everyone has a type of person they get on with,” he says, “you just have to find it—my friends are all people who I gelled with really fast.”
An international student from India who has also lived in Peru, Kapur is a familiar face to many in Morningside Heights. Majoring in Economics and Psychology, his plan for the short term is to stay in New York after he graduates, though he expects to eventually succumb to a lifelong passion for travel. He hopes to work in sales and carry his “work hard play hard” mentality into professional life.
On living abroad, he says that “the majority [of Indian students] have a different experience” than his own, because his compatriots “stay more true to themselves,” whereas he has “embraced life in America.” When asked about his fondest memory at Columbia, Kapur says that “the best day of my life was the day I got an ID that said I was 21. So many more opportunities opened up.”
Indeed, Kapur is appreciative above all for the “opportunity to meet so many people” that he has been afforded by his time at Columbia. He urges younger students to explore, both on and off campus: “you don’t have to spend money—there’s just so much to do.” The rooftop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of his favorite places in the city and he is in the midst of planning a trip to Six Flags next weekend with his friends.
Though his forays downtown are frequent, he maintains his affection for nightlife in Morningside Heights, and attributes this to something more than the fact that he does “enjoy a drink from time to time.” Kapur is refreshingly clear in his acknowledgement and enjoyment of a community around Columbia, especially given the carefully practiced cynicism most upperclassmen adopt in their attitudes towards our student community.
Throughout our conversation, his charisma and predilection for a good time shine through, and it begins to feel like perhaps some others could benefit from the application of his trademark nihilistic epicureanism.
What has surprised him the most during his time here? “I thought Americans could drink a lot,” he says, “but they really can’t—the movies overplay it.”
— Saif Maqbool