A new semester just started. My fifth at IIT Bombay. It’s been just two days. And Two years. Two quite unexpected years, in every way.
When I stepped into this campus, a bookworm with an ‘ultimate’ sense of my responsibility to study as hard and as well as I could, I actually had no clue as to what awaited me. Literally! I had not chosen my department to pursue engineering. Well, not really! Given my rank, I had a binary choice to make – ‘go to IIT Bombay’ or ‘get a good branch in a not-so-reputed IIT’. Or so I thought at the time given the limited knowledge I had about this.
I had a binary choice to make – ‘go to IIT Bombay’ or ‘get a good branch in a not-so-reputed IIT’. Or so I thought at the time given the limited knowledge I had about this. So, I, along with my overprotective parents, journeyed more than 1800 kilometers for almost 36 hours to get from Patna to Mumbai. Quite arduous, one might think. But not for my parents. They don’t get tired at all when it comes to me and my brother.
I was simply in awe of the big, green campus with apartment like hostels ( at least you get them in your freshie year ). Well, I had reasons to. I had lived in a small confined hostel right from my kindergarten. A cosmopolitan atmosphere welcomed me. It was, in a way, a sudden breath of fresh air. One of independence, interdependence, responsibility and amusement. It was a wonderful beginning.
I was awestruck by the sheer size of lecture halls. It was like a movie theatre with central air-conditioning and three big screens. I mean really?
Oh, and the dress. I wore a full shirt and simple jeans, a formal as I possibly could. I was in college finally, an IIT nonetheless. I was shocked, for lack of a more drastic word, to see my peers in flashy T-shirts and shorts. That was quite something. I mean, why did I took the pains to change when I could have just walked in informal clothes.
I was glad to have found a friend from my high school. Some familiarity was absolutely needed.Then began the barrage of orientations and introductions. Five..ten… I wouldn’t count in futility. Mood Indigo, Techfest, E-cell, Fresiezza, Cult, InSync (Dance), Saaz (Music), Fourth Wall (Drama), Rang (Fine Arts), Abhyuday, SilverScreen (Acting), Sports, IITB Racing…I, like an obedient freshie, got enlisted in every club. And I was quite serious about it.
I learnt welding, a little bit of carpentry, cutting metals and what not.
Until the first quiz came, everything was absolutely fantastic. I had studied hard for it. But somehow, it was not helpful. At least not as much as I would have wanted. I got 3 out of 12. I was the state second topper in my school. So, this was shattering. I did not tell my parents my grade. This continued in almost every subject.
I, eventually, realised that I wasn’t the topper I had the hallucination of being. I mean I was among the lowest ranked students in the whole institute. A boy who would crib about even half marks in schools, I became okay with whatever little I was awarded. (My first and much-needed lesson in humility and gratitude) Eventually, I did tell my parents about my performance. They were concerned but surprisingly not as much as I had thought. My grades did go slightly up in mid-terms.
Meanwhile, we saw the Gateway of India and some other common places in Mumbai. It was a good leisure from the hectic college schedule.Our department drip was also a good experience away from the campus, trekking in Korigad Fort.We had TechFest and Mood Indigo, two spectacular events. I was baffled by the enormity of the things. Everything was loud and large.
Meanwhile, I developed of watching TV series. I had never known such a thing before. It was addictive. It still is. I stayed away from gaming. There’s something about them that I don’t quite grapple with. So, second semester was pretty much TV series binge watching. I bunked lectures at will, with no regard as to the consequences. Well, I faced them during the exams. Things had gone south.
But I was still there. Alive and Breathing . On a plane back home. My first flight!And a new year began. I was strangely comical to find the new freshies in my shoes, trying to solve their way out of problems. As for me, things were pretty much as they were before. Concepts bouncing off the head, pretty much all over the place however hard I tried to keep them inside my head.
A time came, after the mid-semester exams, when I snapped. I was suddenly determined to leave IIT. It wasn’t that this place was not good or not fun. It absolutely was. But I didn’t feel that I was making good use of my time. Engineering was pretty much over. It is over. I wanted to study humanities, political science, economics. I looked for options outside. I applied for a college too, got selected but eventually dropped the idea. I am yet to find out if that was sensible, I guess it was. Strangely enough, it was academically my best semester.
We have had quite a few celebrities in our campus in these two years. Uber CEO, Ola CEO to name a few. Filmstars haven’t been behind either.
We have celebrated many festivals together.
I have become more certain of my strengths and weaknesses than I ever was. I began reading and writing.
And I have made some pretty good friends on the way, people who face what I face every day, who keep each other up late at night, who drag each other out of the beds to the lecture halls, and who do not miss a chance to make fun of each other.
I know I have missed a lot of events. But I have squeezed in as much as I could remember. (I didn’t many of them)
It’s been a memorable ride so far as I look forward to the future.