Snehasagar “Macha”, graduated this year from Civil Engineering department with B.Tech(Hons) and M.Tech degree (dual degree). He is currently pursuing Ph.D. Civil Engineering at State University of New York, Buffalo.
It’s been more than two months since convocation, the official last day of an Insti student. Yet I feel that I’ve not graduated! My Insti life isn’t over! When did those five years pass away? I write this sitting thousands of miles from Insti, wearing Saras jersey, thinking that the vacation will be over and I’ll be returning to Chennai. The occasionally puzzled stares of my new friends whenever I casually drop phrases such as “take lite da”, “I cupped it”, “put me fundaes” pulls me back to the sad reality. As all best things are destined to end, so did the wonderful journey, that began with a small éclairs chocolate offered to me on the SAC stage along with the final admission letter and completed with receiving the degree on the same SAC stage.
What makes the experience so worthwhile and unique? My group of friends! The friends I made on the day of orientation, feels like yesterday, are still with me, concerned about my wellbeing in the foreign land. Whenever I was sad and disappointed, whenever I was in a financial crisis, whenever I needed strength, they extended their hand all these years. Companions in night outs at Himalaya lawns (playing wolf), trips out of the state, camping in unknown lands, dancing in hostel nights, early morning cycle rides to classes and sleep in them, late night discussions on hostel terrace, combined studies for quizzes, co-coordinators in Shaastra, Saarang (only prominent teams when I was in the second year), teammates in numerous sports, giving birthday bumps (Is it a punishable offence now? ), midnight badminton and TT matches, watching cricket matches in TV room, devouring hours of ice creams on Ice cream nights, they were always there, sharing the smiles and creating memories. Gurunath, Ramu, Zaitoon, 1974 tank, CCD, campus café, CRC, BSB, Luxe, CLT, SAC, Sangam, Mummy daddy, Supriya, all these places surely miss the laughter of my gang! We become brothers in all but in name and only death will draw us apart!
The first day in my hostel and a batchmate walks into my room and asks ‘We’re playing football. Do you want to join?’ I had never played football before. Before my brain could process this vital piece of information, I said yes! In a couple of minutes, I was in hostel quadi playing football with strangers. Now this story doesn’t end with me becoming an insti football player or hostel player. Even now, I don’t play well. But what it taught me is that there are numerous activities that I have never done or known in life and insti is a place where I can do that. From that day, I nodded to the majority of adventures that my friends took me to, each showing me a different flavor of the world.
Like most of the people, I entered Insti with a branch I didn’t want to be in. Civil engineering. The stuff with concrete and sand. Really? How interesting could that be? How wrong I was! Love of my life, physics, was involved in the fundamental workings of the field, deepening my interest to the point that I converted my B. Tech degree into the dual degree. Coming to the choice of electives, I’ve always followed my heart, ignoring threats of bad grades and the absence of friends, resulting in a rich learning experience and amazing new friendships. I was the only guy in my chosen minor (a word that will be alien to new curriculum students) from my department. I cannot forget my fifth semester where I was involved in three difference institute teams, doing an additional course for honors and managed to score a GPA of 9. The thought that I had pulled it off always gives me the confidence to shoot for the goals that are more than my potential.
In these five years, I have come across many kinds of professors. Few are experts in lullabies and no matter how hard I try, I cannot stop myself from sleeping in their class. There were some who convinced me that I am not doing anything worthwhile with my life. But there were few professors whom I admire, who gave me a hand and showed me what I could be. They filled me with a hunger for knowledge and kindled a fire for research. Their passion and commitment in the quest of science drew me towards their profession so strongly so that I wanted to become one of them paving the way to pursue Ph.D.
What did I like about insti? What did I value about it? Is it the brand name to show off? Is it the old classrooms with no AC where God knows how we could manage to sleep? Or dazzling insti fests? Or cultural and sports activities that have no parallel in any other college? My answer was one thing – freedom. Absolute freedom. At any given point in time, I had the choice to do what I wanted. Well, not bunking classes as you have to follow 85% attendance rule. Yet you can be what you want to be. You want to dance, there is an opportunity for that. You want to sing, go ahead! You want to tinker with tech, there is a place for it. You want to devour the seasons of TV series, you’re welcome. No one judges you. So with this freedom, I lived a carefree live for five years. Name any game, I played it. Name any club, I attended that. Name any event, I was there. Most of the time I was laughed at but never been ridiculed and more often was encouraged. I never became prominent in any of those activities, still, I cherish all the first time leaps into unknown territories.
To the newcomers, you are in an amazing place, filled with energy and passion. Go out of your rooms and explore. Take a leap towards those events mentioned in s-mails. You need not be an expert in the said event, just go and have fun. I still remember sitting in Sac for a whole day playing bridge, losing one game after another. As freshies, we performed on choreo night, none of us giving a thought to ED mid-sem the next morning. Placing third on LIT-SOC CW solo for the poem that I wrote on F-word while drowsing in the C language class, still tops the embarrassing incidents of my life. One fine Sunday, we dig an anthill, fearing each minute the snake makes an entrance just to collect soil samples to friend’s BTP that he ended up dropping. And who can forget the floods and Vardha cyclone? So many fond memories and these are just off the top of my head. Finally, on the day of convocation, when my degree was not to be found, making me wait for few minutes on the stage, I couldn’t help but smile at the perfect closure to my insti life that is made up of crazy, stupid, unfathomable collection of exciting stories!