This is my 250th post. I thought of writing something spectacular, or something funny, or even looking back at my old posts.
But then, it’s time to say good bye. The last week I am going to be in Madras (assuming I will not be posted back here again, which I won’t mind.). Five days is all that’s left exactly. I have been here in Madras for the past four years right from the day my wretched twelfth grade marks came in and I knew my life was irreparably damaged. There have been ups and downs. More downs than ups really. 😀
I still remember my first few days in Chennai when I was amazed at the beach and the distances involved. You see, coming from Coimbatore (which is equally nice) which has a city radius of about 5 kms, Chennai is a big city. And it takes time to get used to.
The Accident and the haircut:
I remember the day before the CET (Common Entrance Test, which was an eye wash anyway) I went to ICICI Besant Nagar to get tickets for Spiderman. On the way back, I fell off the vehicle after having driven into a huge pit on the road. It was night, see and I could not see the road. I assumed it was flat. It never is, not in India. So, I fell hands outstretched, and skidded for almost 20 meters. I lost the skin on my palms, my shirt and jeans were torn and the best part, my leather slippers had a hole in it now. What friction can do is amazing. 😀 I somehow managed to get home, bleeding and all. I was promptly taken to the nearest hospital and got myself all bandaged up. The place where the leather slipper had given way was now swollen twice the size. I had apparently cut a vein or something. Bah.
The next day, I went to the CET, with my palms in bandage. I couldn’t shade the ovals on the OMR sheet, I am telling you. I couldn’t bring my thumb and the index finger together to hold the pencil. What’s more, just before the accident the previous day, I decided to cut my own hair (after getting awfully bored sitting at home in a city I barely knew) to disastrous effect. The result was, with my bandages and limp and my haircut, I looked like a rabid guy. 😀
The College Admissions:
Well, the less I speak about this, the better. I visited a few colleges on OMR with my dad. Some were outright bad and otthers quoted ridiculous capitation fees. KCG people were puzzling. They kept speaking without ever demanding a fee or saying no. I knew someone in MNM jain, through whom I could have secured a seat, but then as fate would have it, that person was not in town and was not expected in town for a few days. The principal thought we were kidding when we said we knew this guy. He must have thought we were kidding or something. I chose the college about which I cribbed for the next four years, in the counseling. That was the best I could manage and I had come to terms with it. Moral of the story: If you screw up in life, you got to pay.
First day in college:
This was quite strange. I joined college much later than the others because of having waited for the counseling. When I joined, the classes were already in full swing. I remember being assigned to a class by one Mr. Iyer (who I still admire) and walking into the class with a hundred odd eye balls staring at me. That I walk with a slouch wasn’t helpful either. 🙂 I decided to start on a good note even with my first math class, where I gave some crazy values for Eigen Values and the teacher (Mrs. Selvi I guess) had to come to me and ask me to take it easy. Apparently, they had been doing this for a week or so. 😀 I kept quite for the rest of the class.
Something I noticed was that there were localized groups all over. People from the same schools, localities…etc. It is/was very hard to make friends (and I am not particularly good at that either). It has remained that way for four years. I don’t know a single guy in any other college either. This is what happens when you suddenly move out of a city onto another city and are an introvert on top of that. 😦 This meant, I would never belong to a group. The groups were already well defined. Also, I never got to know what was happening in other colleges, be it symposiums or classes in general. It’s hard that way you know. What’s worse, you can’t rig events in symposiums.
That I joined late was in a way good. People were nice to me and I made friends immediately, who are pretty good friends of mine to this day. The first semester was pretty enjoyable. I wanted to forget my 12th screw up and concentrate on the job at hand. Classes were fun (for me at least) and we didn’t have any stupid rules back then either.
We had amazing fun in our section. Marc and Bharani (a guy from ECE) were shuffled one day and then reassigned to A section after Marc protested. 😀 Apart from the classes, bus used to be fun too. Buses were never overcrowded back then. The Besant Nagar bus was fun. And OMR wasn’t under construction either. So there was no dust and hence no war attire.
I learnt C (the programming language) in the first year of my engineering. To that day, I had never seen C. Abhishek taught me the basics and I was determined to learn it. Well, I can’t say I know much of C, but then I know enough to write programs that work the way they are supposed to.
I never got ragged in the first semester. Contrary to what others may tell you, I walked alone always with a kind of confidence (some call it arrogance) that made seniors unsure whether I was a fresher or not. 😀 I never got into a discussion with people so I didn’t have disagreements.
It was second semester when I was ragged for the first time. I don’t know the guy, except he was in 3rd year back then and was a loser of sorts. I am sure he still has arrears. It so happens that I was giving some model exam and came out at 4:20 to find that the buses had left. Only one bus was left and after speaking to the transport coordinator who told me some staff had told him that everyone had left the exam halls by 4:00 and hence the buses had left, I boarded that bus. Someone from the back seat asked me why I was on the bus and I remember shouting back some expletives. There was a silence followed by questions being asked. When the seniors had made sure I was indeed in the first year, they decided to rag me. It was just the usual dumb stuff. Nothing creative. Sing a song, dance, say hi to that “akka”, say hi to that “patti”. I came out of it alright. Nothing serious.
Second semester and onwards:
Second semester involved me getting into a class which I hated and hate to this day. See, EEE isn’t always the most interesting bunch of guys. The course might be arguably the best, but guys like me choose it. 😀 On top of that, some people left college and some others transferred departments. It was a gloomy building as well.
I think second semester was quiet for the most part. I did nothing except attend a couple of symposiums and present a paper in one of them, which would be the only paper I presented till I was in my final semester.
With third semester came the symposium and I was (co)hosting the quiz and also the MC. The symposium went alright, but the time I had spent preparing for the events and staying late in college cost me a few grades. I’d say it was worth it. I remember attending Forays at IITM and making it to the debate (Big Fight) finals. I had gone alone and this was one of the individual events. Me and another guy from CEG-AU were the only non-IITans of the 8 finalists. I thought I did pretty well, and the others sounded lame, but then there was only one prize and that went, surprise of all surprises to an IITan. Now, that’s uncommon isn’t it ? 😉
Fourth semester was pretty interesting from the academic stand point. But then apart from that, I have no recollection of what happened that entire semester. I am blanked out as of now atleast.
Fifth semester meant I was in third year now. Well, that’s second best isn’t it ? I must say, I enjoyed the 3rd year the best of all. By now, I knew Madhu and Shiva pretty well, and convinced them into being my quiz-mates. (to their dismay and groans) We attended quite a few symposiums and won a good percent of the events too. Academics was going alright as well.
Sixth semester came and that now meant Madhu and Shiva were busy with their project and could not team up with me any longer. 😦 I attended a few events alone and a few more with a few other people like Bala and Naveen of my class. We did manage to win a few, but it was never the same without Shiva and Madhu. Shiva had made it to the finals of Shaastra quizzes and Madhu was placed in three companies and got a rank in GATE. Imagine. 🙂 We would molest any other team if it were a semi-technical event.
Seventh semester was boring to the point that I started bunking college regularly. I could afford that. I was in the final year now. Now, I teamed up with Abhishek and since he was in IT and me in EEE, we diversified into attending all department symposiums, except Mechanical of course. Once again, we had a good percentage of finals converts and we won a good deal of those finals as well. I earned some money that semester. The only thing that kept me engaged was the laboratory on Power Systems. It required us to write slightly hard programs on Matlab and no one (else) had a clue anyway. I had put in a lot of work into that lab. The electives were a bummer. Guys chose Biomedical engineering instead of better subjects.
Eighth semester has been the most boring semester till date. Very less classes, a symposium crammed into the 2 working days we had per week, which I skipped anyway. Each day in college was boring and there was this attempt of last minute bonding from all corners. We knew that the end was near and suddenly people didn’t want to let go. I did manage to present a few papers and win at a few symposiums. Abhi and I attended very few events this time over and what few events we attended, we did not do so well. I was adamant of doing the project on my own without assistance and was criticized both at home and at college for trying to be smart but being stupid. A lot of work went into the project, and there were many challenges I faced at each stage. But then I got to learn so much from them. The project exams came and the fact that I made a presentation for 40 minutes without the people interrupting me once made me feel good about myself. The final semester exams came and I found that the work I had put into my project cost me heavily in the exams. I had not bothered to so much as prepare for the exams. The exams came and went and we sat at home waiting for the results not knowing what was in store. Then the results came and though not good by any stretch of imagination, I had passed. That was it. I was/am an Engineer at last. (Nothing to be proud of)
And then the Infosys mail arrived, announcing that we have to report on the 23rd of June. Though excited at first, I am slowly realizing that, it could mean, I will never be in Chennai again.
Looking back, I think I did considerably well. I had a few restrictions imposed on me as a result of which I could not do any which thing I wanted, like write GATE for instance. (Just as my project was thought of as worthless, my eagerness to write GATE and do an ME or MS was immediately dismissed.) I have had some good times here. Walks to, on and back home from the Besant Nagar beach, on Annie Besant road. Cricket matches in CLRI. Colleges all over Chennai. Sathyam Cinemas and Spencers plaza. And more recently Ascendas. Finished college without getting into trouble. Landed a job. Made a few good friends. My only regret is that I never went out all that much. Never explored the city. Never made more friends. Here I am, on my last weekend in Madras, sitting in front of my computer, typing this long and boring post out. 🙂 I haven’t been out of my house in three days now. I guess I am that way.
I never felt bad or even remotely emotional when I left college. But then leaving Madras isn’t the same, now is it ? There will be emotions and a visit back will never be the same….