Reconstruction of (A Day In) CFI

Recreating the day before Open House in CFI: a scene. The hustle and bustle. The noise, the working atmosphere, a mecca for learning and creating. 


The clock is ticking and they’ve got the ball rolling. Cycles are packed to the brim in the stands. The door is ajar and the air is buzzing with energy and a sense of urgency. All you can hear are the sounds of drilling and welding and voices trying to shout over it. Feet are scuffling through the piles of cardboard, metal and hand-tools.

Night has fallen and this humble abode has suddenly come alive with elves. Elves, with an immense fondness for tinkering and an insatiable appetite for building things, are gushing through the open quarters of CFI as they clamour to complete the finishing touches on their prototypes and solve last-minute problems. 

It’s crunch time at the Centre for Innovation as clubs and competition teams alike gear up for the CFI Open House.

It’s well into the night and Team Anveshak is preparing their Rover Caesar for display. Anveshak, the reigning champions of the Indian Rover Challenge and stalwarts of the University Rover Challenge, is a team that is extremely passionate about robotics. They are currently building their own remote-operated all-terrain rover. 

As their meeting commences, members go over last-minute details and the modules that need to be showcased. Working at CFI for the team, as said by Tarun Prasad, is all about planning the to-dos and accomplishing them. The atmosphere here is one of buzz and noise with constant meetings and inside jokes that keep you going. 

In a different corner of the room, Team Avishkar is assembling their pod that has only just arrived from Los Angeles. The team spearheaded the country’s attempt at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition 2019 and were even shortlisted in the final round for the same.


Team Raftar welding away as they work on the chassis of their car

An average day for them, according to the head Aditya Ranade, is all about being productive and testing prototypes.

“It always has to be either a hard failure or a resonant success,” he says. “Anything else is an incomplete attempt.” 

When asked what the most common sights around were, he replied, “The members sitting around, some of them with their head rolled back, sleeping. If you were to get access to the CCTV cameras, you’d see the different stages of sleep. So, a couple of years ago, we even had bean-bags in CFI, and it wasn’t uncommon to spot four people sleeping on a single bean-bag, or five people sleeping on the table. The day before the Open House, people have just completed their long hauls of weeks of prep and have just met their deadlines. People don’t even bother going back to their rooms.” 

But, right now, the members are anything but sleeping. The countdown has begun and they have 24 hours to finish the assembly of the pod so as to be able to display it for the first time ever in the Open House.

Teams everywhere are gearing up much the same way. Chairs are prime real estate and with most of them acquired, everyone else is standing and tirelessly working away. Team Sahaay, a team that is striving to build technological solutions that impact society, is scrambling to assemble their bot that collects non-biodegradable waste from river banks. A menstrual waste management system and a women’s safety device are some other projects up for display. DbyT Dynamics, a start-up that has grown out of CFI and Nirmaan, is prepping its electric motorbike and bicycle as well as taking test drives. The iBot Club, that works towards fuelling the spirit of robotics in the institute, is providing last-minute touches to Handyman and V-Klenetrix. Team Raftaar, Team Envisage, Aero Club and 3D Printing Club are all busy drilling and assembling away as the next day draws closer. 

The foosball table, completely abandoned!

These teams work tirelessly, months on end to bring their ideas to fruition. This is a space that has been witness to countless ideas, all-nighters, brainstorming sessions and so much more. It is a place that has brought all of these tinkering elves together and given them a purpose. A greenhouse atmosphere apt for nurturing ideas, to most, CFI has been more home than their hostel rooms. It is a bubble tucked away from the rest of the world, one where external noise is veritably dwarfed by everything that goes on within.

With that, we draw T5E’s CFI series to a close, giving way to the occasion of the CFI Open House today. We wish the teams of CFI all the very best for the Open House, and for their endeavours in the future, too!

Check out our Instagram for a bunch more photographs from CFI’s Open House preparation scenes!


Series by: Akash Reddy

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