As the farewell (its a year early, I know) draws near and one completes yet another milestone in life, it is impossible not to think of the years gone by. The perception of engineering, the obsession with gizmos( no no not you vid!) and electronics, the dream of a college life, college fun etc, is no longer a perception. It is hard reality. Even a past. As I sit in my room and scan back my old files, lying somewhere in my head, I thought it was time to do some introspection. Time to evaluate my thinking and compare it with what I have faced. Time to think if i have done what I wanted to.
I always knew engineering was what I had to do. But BITS, no. Like hordes of other aspiring engineers and all the hype generated in the Indian society (not to forget TOI, which unfailingly publishes a couple of articles everyday on IIT’s and IIM’s), I wanted to get into IIT. Perhaps my preparation wasnt enough, or being more fatalistic, I wasnt meant to be in one, IIT remained my dream. A four digit rank meant scurrying for seats elsewhere and a half-hearted, almost-in-holiday-mood examination meant a decent score and I qualified the cut-off for BITS.
Again, BITS-Pilani, GOA ? Whatsthat again? There is a BITS in Goa ? Some fake publicizing and warm assurances by the high and mighty of Pilani brought me here. Campus – excellent looking. Hostels -nearly 5 star. And thats where it ends. Sadly, thats all there was.
No water for a semester, no LAN for two,boiling furnace like computer labs and an empty library. A sad tea vending machine greeted us. Classes were like coaching institutes with mini-tests every day! A skating-rink like badminton court and just a tennis hardcourt without nets. Another bad rank at IIT the next year sealed my fate. Yes, BITS it is.
Then DC entered the campus and life improved (or did it ?). People were stuck to their computers nearly all the time, no social life existed. Chatting with neighbours on gtalk, DC mainchat and movie marathons was all we had. Classes were moderate. Some good, some bearable and some left to God. Life was good. Lazy and free. A couple of eateries sprouted which meant increase in body fat and decrease in bank balances. We were zombies.
The third year brought us to the CDC year. Yes, the overhyped most-important, we-were-saving-ourselves-for-these-courses time . People were enthusiastic like never before, people I hadnt known existed were found in classrooms. But all the furore lasted till only we discovered what the truth was. It was all self-study. No teacher was satisfactory and some managed to surpass the no-attendence rule and drag us for classes. We chugged along grudgingly finishing course-after-course, book after book, wondering if this is what engineering was all about.
Then WHAM! transformer breakdown. What started as a party, with the entire college spending evenings in library lawns playing frisbee and kho-kho, cards and kabbadi, has now turned to frustration, resentment and a desperation to leave campus at the earliest.
The unbearable heat, the sad labs, the sad-der subjects and a soporific teacher make a deadly combination. It makes you crave for the peace and quiet of home, the excellent home-made meals and yes the beloved Air Conditioner.
PS2 beckons, but thats only after I spend a lonely semester on campus with nearly all my friends gone. I wont see many of them ever again. But the happiness(or agony) of these days, will stay with me forever.
Sad but true. Not an ounce of extra-knowledge gained, just experience of life. Lots of new friends and innumerable introspections. A slight interest in possible career options and a whole lot of things waiting to be done. A nice tag which superficially means a lot to the naive common man. Tons of ways to manipulate proxies, lots of friends in social networking sites, some Trivia fun, oodles of hand-fanning practice, extra tolerance towards heat, death of appetite and the art of sleeping with eyes open, ability to sit for days in front of computer and a nice tropical tan.
This is what Engineering is about ?