This goes out to the hordes of engineers produced by institutions all over India. And when I say the word ‘produced’, it actually is akin to a car production line. You start juvenile, naive and inquisitive, like the first page of a new notebook. The years spent studying temper your thoughts and leave you at the altars of the convocation hall. At the end of which, you have a degree in your hands and a lousy costume in a photo memoir.
The quintessential ‘Maggi’ at the night canteen
It’s not about why Maggi is eaten and not anything else. It’s plain Theory of Relativity. All boils down to what can be served the earliest, because when you are hungry, those 2-minutes seem like 20 mins. And the fact that you have atleast 5 variants of Maggi to choose from makes it a staple food for many. There are students who literally thrive on Maggi, it’s like their potion to perform better cognitively. Also, who will provide you food at the middle of the night at 2 A.M. in the god forsaken area where your college is located!
Wearing the NIT T-shirts
This is a pretty neat trick being employed by all of us to attract attention. Also it is an excellent example of oversupply. There are so many committees and extra-curricular events happening throughout the year, that there is a steady influx of various T-shirts printed for each occasion. Which by the way, fares well for the hostilities, because they then make it a point to wear it at every other place, be it outside campus, malls, movies, shopping and even at weddings.!! What better way to swagger around flashing your college name on your backs and weird inscriptions on the front.
Drooling over girls
Yes, we all are aware of the appalling sex ratio in engineering. But NITs take that to a whole different level. You would think there would be at least 5 girls in a batch of 100 students. A look at the distraught faces of the mechanical department students would be enough to tell you the story. So, it is no wonder that the cultural and tech fests are looked upon as an opportunity for students to strike up a conversation with the opposite sex. And yes, the females do flock these fests in huge numbers, coz it’s the only time they are allowed inside the secure intellectual haven of NITs. Also there is substantial participation in the events during the fests.
Learning in a classroom is a thing of the past reserved for the 9-pointers and above. These days most of the actual learning of (read: how to clear) the subject happens in the famed group study sessions. Wherein the actual concept or knowledge is immaterial, the tact of answering questions by studying the least of the topics is discussed. Here are the students who do not know which examination is tomorrow, what course is to be covered, yet they go out there the next morning and clear the exam.
Night life at the hostels
Just because you are too lazy to get off the bed, doesn’t mean you should lose the attendance for the classes. For that, you have the special breed of students who are adept at the skill of proxy attendance. But why did you bunk the class in the first place? Maybe you just watched the whole Game of Thrones Season 5 the previous night, before the new one premiers; or you just were on a movie marathon of the Star Wars; or you had missed the new season of House of cards and wanted to cover that up. One has to visit the hostels at night, to see it in all its livery. Endless hours of TV series, online gaming, and movies is what goes on, an average night at the hostel, followed by endless visits to the night canteen. Once the sun goes down, the hostel comes to life.
There are days on which you do not want to sit in a class at all. So, what do you do? Organize a mass bunk so that no student is available for the lecture and the professor goes back cursing you and gives a tough paper in the exams. However, there are certain geeks who play spoilsport and still want to attend classes, for them, the class gundas secretly guard the class doors and browbeat them to mass-bunk. The ultimate rebellion is when the entire class mass-bunks an exam! It’s not like you mass bunk to do something really productive, but it’s just an avenue to have it your way sometimes and they usually end up at the canteen or cafeteria.
Living as per US time-zone, DC++
Most of the time, students are on US timings. The day starts with the afternoon snacks as breakfast, dinner as lunch and night canteen to satiate them the remaining time. Morning classes are bunked, only subject practicals are attended, and lab work is carried on during the evenings. These night crawlers and day dreamers are found in all hostel premises. The unforgettable part of hostel life is DC++, or the P2P network that binds all the students together at night. The sheer amount of data shared and the variety of downloads available would put a torrent to shame.
Day scholars vs hostelites
There are two sects of students in the campus. The students who live in hostels — hostelites and the students who are from the city and live in the city wherein the NIT is based — day scholars. Day scholars are in the campus for the duration of the lecture timings. After that, only a handful are seen at the hostels. The cultural and tech fests are handled by the day-scholars whereas college committee members are from the hostelites. The tussle for power and management is very unique between the day scholars and hostelites. The jugaad of the hostelites, their rapport with the seniors, their leaked exam papers and extended-family like friends are envied by the day-scholars but the only time day-scholars have an upper hand is when their bikes and cars are required by the hostelites!
Hostel fights, ragging, state associations (asso)
The state associations play a major role in the hostel politics. Every college has the ‘mattoos’, ‘goolts’, ‘gujjus’, ‘biharis’, ‘delhities’ who fight for each and every hostel/mess position that is available. Many a times, differences between them lead to brawls and hostel fights. There are hostel asso’s events depending upon festivals wherein every student participates and enjoys. Ragging, although banned, is seen in a different avatar, friendlier context, as a respect for seniors, and not by force. There are numerous occasions of a denial of access to canteens, the insistence on wearing formals in 1st year or keeping a clean shave. These pranks serve to break the ice between seniors and juniors leading to an amicable and interactive college environment.
Chai-sutta, daaru and gaa*ja
The college life is not complete without the daaru, gaa*ja and chai-sutta as it is called these days. I would not be at liberty to discuss this particular point here in detail. But, the most ingenious ideas would pop out at these times. Be it proposing to a girl, launching a start-up, abusing professors, mischief ideas or just pouring their heart out. These are the times when all the worries are cast aside, to just chill and relax. The booze parties after exams, during Holi, before semester breaks, placement offers, and national festivals, even on drydays, are a treat in itself, therein the students revel and look back at the journey completed in the college. Nah!! That’s just a lie. Its party mode on, nothing else matters, for at these times, you are free.
To sum it all up, engineering is journey in itself, you are exposed to different situations, and different people and these 4 years are the most important of your life. Although what you do next would be totally different from what you have learned. Engineering is a step in the self-enlightenment, a place to live your life and gain vital lessons to take forward with you; where you wear the irritating robe and pose for pictures on your graduation day.
P.S: I forgot to mention the ‘katta’, ‘senti-pulia’ etc — the iconic hangout place in the college other than canteen, of course!!
Title image: PTBN