Joining hands with many confused teenagers egged by the zeal of their over-expecting parents, I also had once spent a considerable part of my higher sec years preparing for IITJEE. Attending tuitions from 6 in the morning till 11 in the night, mugging up B.Sc level chemistry because of the foul-mouth chemistry teacher and his incorrigible habit of using expletives, to guessing random answers in the FIITJEE mock tests , I had done everything. I even had to sit for the grueling 6 hour test just a day before our Statistics boards exam (my deepest respect to the guys of West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, and their ability to set exam dates.). But then I had mistakenly thought that it would end there only...
After 2 and a half comfortable years, the dormant Lucifer started rising his head once again. Once again I had a chance to give the most coveted technical instis of India another go. The chance came much before I had expected. One of my connected professors offered me a chance to work in IIT, Kanpur...The glory of the place was too magnetic to me to say no.
I accepted the offer without thinking and even said yes to the fact that I won't be getting a hostel room and won't get paid even. So the starry-eyed me, basking in the glory of the name, landed in Kanpur, the hottest place on earth...OK..not earth, the hottest place I have ever been to.
6 weeks down the lane...I realized fully what gave the most popular author in India impetus to write his first novel. And so thought the writer in me (who takes the word procrastination to a whole new dimension), if 4 years in this hell hole can make him write a full-fledged novel, why can't 6 weeks fuel me to write a small blog post? So forgotten is the MATLAB code on which I busted my bums on, and the boring images of a drop sliding down a inclined plane, I start recalling about what kept me going for this 6 weeks and also the retarding forces.
1. You may call me a glutton, but foodie is a term I prefer. The breakfast at Hall 7 is one of the best things about this insti. Yup, you read right...I AM talking about hostel food. Priced at Rs. 15 (now Rs.20) you can have bournvita/cornflakes, fresh chana, toast butter jam/ special dish. This special dish can be Dosa, Idli, Uttapam, sandwich,poha, parantha on different days...the catch is you get unlimited amount of this things for Rs. 20. Yup, a paradise for people who can eat loads, unlike me. I am all talk when is comes to food. The canteen dinner is good on most days...but inedible on others. I am sure that people from Manchuria will launch a attack on this place if they know what they produce in the name of Veg. Manchurian. Another notable thing is the stupendofabulous Chicken roast they make on Thursdays...mmmmm..will mis that in Kolkata.
2. If you are a feminist please skip this one, because the word girl-favoritism is like Zulu to you gals or guys. (duh!! there actually are male feminists.) If there was a death penalty for girl favoritism, then IITK would be almost empty, barring the two girls hostels and a few ascetic people like my friend Kaustav. You don't have to be beautiful or slutty or anything, you just have to be a girl here. And everyone focuses his attention on you. I will refer to a small a incident. One of my guides, he never met me the for the first two weeks, but when a girl intern came, he met her that very day, advised her on nitty gritties of research work, and fuck...she is also getting a accommodation and remuneration. I don't blame the girls for this, because the majority of girls doesn't take advantage of this by themselves (some sluts do), I blame the sicko attitude of the males who makes this possible.
3. The labs...yup, label me a geek or whatever, but the labs are something that caught my marvel...All sorts of computers, instruments, machine-tools you name it, they have it. They also have dedicated technicians who would make experimental set-ups on your behalf. This is "a luxury you get in IIT" as my guide told me. The collective cost of the instruments which I had been handling costs roundabout 10 lakhs...this fact alone made me handle them with utmost care. The worst part is people here never make full use of the facilities. The interferometric set- up I just talked about was used last in 2007. And now no one in the lab knows how to use it...My question is quite rhetorical. Why waste a fucking 10 lakh for a useless showpiece?? People don't get to eat here in this country.
4. The less I say about His Perfectness, the better. The accolade refers to my guide, who at one point of time told me " So what you are stuck? I have my own work and research, I can't GUIDE you." Then why did you accept me as an intern, eh? You could have said no very well and save me the pain. Nah...you had a better plan, to become a pain, sadist. I don't think the guy saw 3 Idiots. Otherwise he would have sued them. The character of Virus is totally based on him. Just because his recommendation can guarantee a seat in Stanford doesn't mean that you will treat everyone as scum, doesn't mean you will talk to a intern with you legs on the table.
5. The other interns..they are the guys I am really indebted to. Especially Mr. Kaustav Pradhan who allowed me to share his
6.Whoever said that Thar desert is the hottest place in India is wrong, it's Kanpur. To add to my perennial sufferings the place where stayed was in a state of perpetual power cut. All those sweaty sleepless nights, those sleep starved afternoons..those blistering afternoons when I had to step in the heat to grab some food from the comfortable AC lab...i curse you Kanpur heat, may the tundra lynch you someday. The only thought that kept me going was that people at Kolkata were also facing a similar kind of problem..sadism rocks.
7. I detest the sicko attitude this people have for summer interns. They call us here for summer projects and they never decide what project to give us beforehand. And when we come they feed us some bull which is never enough to keep us busy for 2 months. So we report to them , they feed us even more bull and they promise you that your work is really good and they are thinking of making it into a technical paper to be published in a renowned journal. But when you cram all the things you have worked on and submit the final report to them, they scowl and say "You haven't done anything new or important." Hello!! I wasn't given anything new and important to work on...I did what I was told to do. Got me on my nerves, oh they did.
However, I should point out that not everyone's experience was the same. One of my friends went to IIT Chennai, and she got loads of important stuff to do and got good lab mates. Sigh..I feel so green.
Looking back at those days, I realized the name of the insti never matters, the certificate for which I lived through hell for two months never matter...it's the people, it's always the people who makes a difference. It's just my dumb luck that I got associated with the worst kind possible in a educational institution...But still I gto my share of hostel life, I got the certi, made some very good friends...My heart tells my egomaniac brain to be satisfied with it.I am trying to listen, I am trying.