EnGineeR mAde IN InDia (Part 2 : in College)

17 Jul


I got into an engineering college in Mumbai. Someone had once told me “Engineering mein ghussna mushkil hai, fir aage sab assan.” And true to these words, I have been clearing exams upon exams, whether I know the subject on not, I have studied or not.

The first day, walking towards the college gate, I gave a pep talk to myself…This is the place, so what if I did not get into IIT, I shall prove myself here. I’ll work hard, be a first bencher, get good scores and be a  topper. As I opened the door of the class, I saw the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and the 4th benches already taken. There was space only on the last bench. I said to myself, no problems buddy…tomorrow.  Three years later, that tomorrow is yet to come. The only way now to get a seat in the first row is to come late to the class. The 2hours long lectures pass yawning, looking at each other, messaging and playing games on mobile. So the situation becomes sweaty when a question is fired at you. Lecture end kab hoga yaar…Bhagwan plzz aaj nahi…aaj bacha lo..kal dhyan dunga ..pakka. Normally it takes about a year to finish 3-4 registers (long books) but a few amongst us are eco friendly and take about 2 years to fill one register.

Mass bunks are the most serious discussions before and after a lecture. The whole class wants to bunk but there are always a few spoil sports who have to go against the whole class and sit for the lecture. And this is where the big A comes in..Attendance.

Attendance and proxy are the two words which one learns and remembers through out the 4 years of an engineering course. Attendance is the most important part of a budding engineer’s life. It is the only and only reason for attending lectures because it can actually make or break your percentage and thus your career. GPA, CGPA or in whatever form the result is finally calculated, attendance holds marks. Which is why attendance sheet is a nightmare.  Every hour’s attendance is important for us. Like Boond Boond se sagar banta hai, Eik Eik ghante se…attendance banti hai. We can orally calculate the total number of hours that we need to attend for a particular subject in seconds. Not only do we maintain a virtual database of the attendance but we also make prior calculations – which lectures that can be bunked and which totally not. This is coordinated with the new movie releases/ girlfriend’s birthday/ special dates..whatever. Being listed on the ‘Defaulters List’ is like being on the wanted list in a police station. The internals totally depend upon the number of hours you have attended.

 The Brahm shastra for this problem is a Medical Letter. God forbid but if you fall into attendance issues, this small little sheet of paper can save you. Easily available for any disease and any time duration. Another small little thing that can partially help you is Proxy – false attendance. Only the brave ones can try this stunt. Generally it is done between the best of friends because risks are very high. During attendance, you shout ‘Yes Sir’ for someone who’s actually not in the class. If caught then waattt!

The Bollywood movies that show college as a fun place full of hot girls should be BANNED. They give you false hopes that shatter very loudly as soon as you step in. The girls who do take up engineering have no time for fashion or makeup. All you get to see is fat – unwaxed – funnily dressed up – gigantic bodies …who are  always up to date in studies. Atleast in my class.

Tests are somewhat easy to deal with. Xeroxed notes, bought one day in advance are mugged up complete with the full stops and commas. If for some reason (like a party or a Man U v/s Chelsea match) you were unable to mug up, then you must get a seat besides some one who has studied. If not then pray that the professor has prepared only 2 sets of question paper (by now 2 sets can be easily dealt with but the confusion starts when there are 4 or more sets). And if you happen to be one of those self dependant people, then the Micro Xerox’s (aka B.Tech in micro technology) are the way to go. If you have to bring out the creativity and innovation in a to-be engineer, there is nothing better than tests and exams. By innovation here I do not mean the ideas to study or solve a numerical. I mean the ideas to get marks without studying much which in general terms is known as cheating. Making chits (farra’s), micro xeroxing the whole chapter, writing formulas on the eraser or on the back of the pencil box are the old and tired ideas. The new age innovations are- writing in the area where fingers join each other (referred to as – magic in my fingers), writing formulas on legs so that you can pull down your socks and see the answers, rolling chits inside an empty ball pen, sticking chits under the  table are what help the needy.
This is how you manage to get respectable scores (even full marks at times). Sometimes more than the person who had genuinely studied or even more than the person you copied from.  This is the most painful if you are at the receiving end.
Besides fetching you internal marks, tests are the hands on experience of an exam like atmosphere. They are practice sessions for overloading and cheating.

Practical’s and journals are where the hard work begins. Practical’s can be a piece of chocolate cake if you are teamed up with the topper but otherwise they can be worse than your worst nightmare. If your team mate knows what he is doing, you can just sit and play with a few components pretending to be engrossed. If not, then gods save you.

Journals are basically meant to increase your speed in copying form other people’s answers sheets and getting familiar with their handwritings. B.Tech in Copying Technology. It is very helpful during exams. You get a very brief look into the neighbours answer sheet. Only a seasoned copier knows where exactly to focus the eyes and the keywords to be read. Had the other person’s handwriting been new, it would have taken double the time to understand. In seconds you have to copy the entire answers which probably will decide whether you pass or fail the subject.

Presentations/projects – these words come to haunt the otherwise calm life of an engineering student during the middle of every semester. You have no idea what is an apt project. Something that is –

  • Easy to understand
  • Easier to present
  • Will fetch you the maximum marks (the most important)

Now here we use the hard work of his generous seniors. The same seniors I hated during the ‘Special Intro Sessions’ (obviously ragging is banned) now became my saviors. And if you are really really lucky, you will also find a nice soft copy of the report which you have to submit along with the powerpoint presentation and the project. Working models are tough to handle but then again, along with knowing the best movie halls, restaurants and bars; we know where to get ready made working models. Projects and presentations thus go completely opposite to the intended purpose. They teach you social skills for getting your work done.

Everything aside, VIVA is by far the most dreaded word in an engineer’s dictionary. It scares even the bravest and most intelligent of us students. Having a roll number flanked by comparatively more intelligent students is a boon in the examination hall BUT the same thing spells doom during the vivas. Any question asked is quickly answered by him and the only thing left for you to do is cursing. Bhagwan iss kamine ke saath mere roll no kyun aya. And if by chance you know the answer to any question, it shall be invariably directed to him. What you have been trying to hide ever since you joined the college, is now sparkling like a diamond –Your Dumbness. But when the dumbness level of both are equally low, then its cool. If your roll number is towards the end, it gives you certain leverage. Instead of studying, you can ask everyone who goes into the interrogation room, what questions were asked. Bhai kya poocha?  Saath saath answers bhi bata de. At this point of time, everyone is your bhai.

 Finally the exams. The big daddys of tests. You get the books a week prior to exams, get the syllabus marked and get ready for the biggest crash course of your life. Obviously you don’t have any notes and could never follow the lectures, so a lot of time and energy has to be invested at the college Xerox centre. The phone bills run high around this time in desperation to trace someone who knows something. The Einstein’s of the class study alone. They take no help, give no help. We the commoners ‘buy’ books (by this time all the library books have already been issued) and then confirm (please note – we only confirm the syllabus that we already know) the syllabus a day before the exam.

By the end of sem when exams start, generally no one can afford ALL the books. So we group ourselves in a way that the group taken as one unit has all required books, notes, Xeroxes and most important – at least one person who has some understanding about the forthcoming exam. He is the unannounced captain of the group. Without these combined brains it is difficult to pass the exams. Syllabus is crammed, past papers are referred, toppers are called up to find out the expected questions. And all this while there is a continuous facebook update about the current status of being. Some people prefer taking a break by watching downloaded movies in parts. Its another thing whether the syllabus finishes or not, but the movie always finishes.

 Its not like we can not study alone. But the brotherhood is what brings us together, which the Newton’s and Einstein’s of the class lack. We stick together in good and bad times.  And exams are bad times. Besides, studying in a group is actually fun. Everyone helps each other out and there is a competitive feeling to mug up the chapters fastest. One of the few good things about engineering course is this bonding that is created in these group study sessions and lasts for really long.

But creating a group is not all that easy. A lot of politics and extensive planning goes into it. In an ideal group everyone’s mind and behavior should be in sync with the others. Besides that everyone should know something at least, so that the ‘group’ as a whole doesn’t require any help from outsiders. These groups stay for the whole duration of exams and if successful, they tend to come together for all semesters. The hush hush talks protect the groups from predators. Group members and the place and time for studying is kept a secret for as long as possible to avoid the following at all costs

  • The irritating people of the class
  • The people who will slow down the speed of the group
  • The people who dont understand things easily

Such people test the patience of the group which honestly everyone lacks especially with exams just a few hours away. During exams different groups meet at like 2-3 in the night for a coffee break (ciggi breaks) and discuss their achievements. Everyone boasts about how much they have studied and how easy it was. But as soon as the other group is out of the earshot, it becomes a mad frenzy. Abbe jaldi room chal. Hum log hi sab se piche hein, topper toh soo bhi gayi. Last mein unke paas chalege ye topic samajhne ke liye.

While studying(read  mugging ) late in to the night, engineers use what they are best at. Math. The amount of syllabus to be studied is decided by calculating and subtracting the internal marks already scored, from the passing marks. By morning it’s the typical ‘ Ab bas..isse zada nahi ho sakta . Jo hoga dekha jayega’. One  hour before the exam  specific instructions are given about the about the signals to be used. Tap on the back, drumming the pen/fingers on table, making sounds or coughing, asking in a very low but clear voice. Somehow in those 3 hours, you remember all the mugged up crap in the last 15 minutes ONLY. Half the time is spent seeing how much others are writing. If people are engrossed and scribbling furiously, it’s a tense moment. Lagta hai muje hi kuch nahi aata…But if everyone is looking at eachother, it’s a relaxed feeling…Kisi ko kuch nahi aata hai…external paper hoga pakka.. Whether you know anything or not, the basic aim is to fill in as many sheets as possible so that you do your best to at least give the examiner an opportunity to give marks. More the number of sheets you fill, bigger the hero you are.

Discussing answers after papers is a complete NO-NO. You can only discuss who was writing how much and how many sheets were you able to fill. You could be the lucky one because whatever you studied was asked in the exam OR your neighbor was a kind soul OR the invigilator was not strict. If neither of these, you can start praying to god to save u from getting a KT (re-exam for failures). Somehow studying engineering makes you more religious. You pray a lot more than you ever did. Books are treated as investments and can be sold at a cash back of 45-50% even if they’ll be required in the next semester. Celebrating the end of exams is more important than planning for the next exams. How else will you get the money to drink, eat and make merry?

At the starting of the first year, you have to face the ‘Intro Sessions’. The seniors get to know the juniors. My session (cant call it ragging) lasted for two whole weeks every night after dinner (in the hostel). Wearing the vest on the shirt and underwear on top of the formal pants we danced on Goore gore gale mere mai kya karo..? We would refer to youtube videos for choreography and lyrics because the performances were supposed to be replica of original. We spent hours searching the net for current affairs for a quiz session, where every wrong answer brought you a different type of task (punishment) depending on the mood of the senior. Singing nursery rhymes in Hindi was okay but giving your introduction in pure Hindi was difficult when I would get stuck on the name of the branch ( electronics and telecommunication). Those were the days when we avoided going to the college canteen so that we don’t run into the seniors. We now take revenge on our juniors who shall take it out on their juniors and the cycle will continue.

It is difficult to romance anyone other than engineering. She doesn’t leave you with any spare time. But if you MUST have someone then under no circumstances, date a person from outside your class. A 9-5 college (glorified school) ensures you get a lot of time together. Mostly a non-engineering female wouldn’t even give you a second look.

Year after year the same process continues for 4 long years, till you graduate to be a proud engineer ready to take on the world or dive even deeper into studies with a M.Tech or CAT , GMAT or GRE exam…


8 Responses to “EnGineeR mAde IN InDia (Part 2 : in College)”

  1. aditya roy August 2, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    totally hillarous and seriously very very true !!!!life of an engineer!!!!! it is legen legen wait for it legendary !!!!!!!!!

  2. Nitin Chaswal July 25, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    Pretty good reason that why India has not more than 25 % of capable engineers.
    Engineers do rock…. being forced by peers n parents to do something sometimes where they dont have any interest.

  3. fuckmaharaj aka. buddha July 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    well 4 all d budding engineers readin’ this blog..i gotta great piece of advice 4 u guys/gals…its about the dreaded “KT’s”..well actually gettin me is most difficult thing, trust me…u gtta be high on cough syrup, sleep 4 like 8 hrs before d xam (a major feat in itself), nd den play mario durin d exam…hw do i noe?? well i’ve dne it…

    -peace out mates!!!

  4. Kartic Rakhra July 22, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    lol!! srsly.. dis is pretty gud!!

  5. Kushan July 18, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Wo! Man. I think that u should be make your own film “One more Idiot”..
    I would be super hit than previous one..

  6. adityavikram July 17, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    but realllly thsi one’s the best so far!

  7. adityavikram July 17, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    this is rather more accurate than chetan bhagat dude!

    • chilicheesetoast July 17, 2010 at 10:25 am #

      thank you avs. i am glad you were brave enough to read the whole of it!

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