It has now been one year since T5E moved to its current, revamped, website and its new server. Thanks to the efforts of Pramod ‘PDF’ Kasi and Suraj Yerramilli, the move from the old site at https://www.t5eiitm.org to https://www.t5eiitm.org was accompanied by a major overhaul in the website’s design. The past one year, under the tenure of Executive Editor Poorna Kumar, was an eventful one for T5E, which saw it mature and evolve as a media body, while diversifying significantly in terms of content.
In commemoration, each of the Editors picks his or her personal favourite among the articles put up over the last one year, and talks about it. In the hopes that T5E can meet these standards and raise them in the year to come, here’s a look at what our editors have to say:
Her Pick: Humans of Insti: Tender Coconuts, With Love
This might be one of my most favourite T5E pieces ever. I find it precious because it marks T5E’s movement across the student/prof domain and into the lives of the insti ‘subaltern’, so to speak (or not, hah, no pun intended). Also, I am very awed by Nithyanand’s journalistic skills. It might not be difficult to open up a conversation, but it’s not easy to do it this skillfully.
Insti’s the kind of place where you tend to get very caught up in your own tightly strung bubble. And you often miss out on the little things around you — the little girl waiting to charm you with her mischievous smile and propensity to steal your pencils (you can find her at Tifs lawns after school trying to learn ‘bad words’ from unsuspecting passersby), schoolboys kicking up dust over a ball and making you nostalgic for school, and, as in this case, a content coconut seller and devoted mother, to kindle your faith in the simple joys of life and in the goodness of the people around you.
Of course –like the series at this point–attempts at such interactions often turn out broken or discontinuous. But the point is to keep connecting.
It’s important, I think, to rediscover the people around you, and do it often. In insti, those outside the student/prof world become invisible. But their stories are heartwarming, amazing and often inspiring. And this is a series that encourages everyone to open up (and open up to) all the humans in insti, whoever and wherever they are.
His Pick: Op-Ed Series: National Elections
Five years ago, by the time The Fourth Estate decided to move online and conduct its businesses virtually, the 15th Lok Sabha elections were already over and the incumbent government was two months into its second term. But the infant T5E then was still discovering insti and would’ve had little inclination to host opinions on the national elections, even if they did happen after its online upgrade. Five years later, however, T5E the toddler has different priorities.
Sir Tom Stoppard, the famous British playwright, once remarked that ‘your opinions are your symptoms’. Election fever manages to aggravate these symptoms even further. And when we have an Institute such as ours, brimming with a multitude of opinions, it is imperative that there be a medium to vent these. Today, T5E aims to do just that — to be, in part, a forum for discussions and debates on topics on which the students in the Institute are likely to have diverse opinions.
The national elections Op-Eds managed to add to this function wonderfully. Well thought-out and pertinent for the most part, these Op-Eds reflect what the prevalent perspectives in the Institute are. I would have liked to see someone write on the Third Front as well, since there seemed to be calls for the SP, BSP, BJD, JD(U), AIDMK and TMC to propose an effective counter to the two major alliances, but there perhaps were no takers for these within the Institute.
The rudder is definitely turned in the right direction. Opinions and heterodoxy must take centre-stage in any functioning society. Maybe, five years from now, T5E the pre-teen will manage to carry pieces on all important regional players as well.
His Pick: Sexual Harrassment: The IITM Story
This three-part series on sexual harassment in the campus, represents, for me, student investigative journalism of a high order, the kind that should ideally be the raison d’être of T5E. It deals with an issue that is clearly of great relevance to campus residents, yet one that is often brushed under the carpet. T5E is in a great position to spread awareness on this and that is what it has accomplished — I didn’t know there was something called CCASH before reading this series of articles.
The series was well-researched, especially the legal side of the issue, and very sensitively written. The analysis was insightful and all facets of the issue were addressed, including a survey of students’ opinions. Although one could argue that three long articles make for a very long series, there is nothing in these articles that could have been taken out without compromising the quality and content. Overall, something T5E must strive to do more of.
Her Pick: Hear It From An MA: Humanities FAQ
I loved Bhargavi’s article on the MA program. As a student of the HSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) department too, I’m used to having stereotypes thrown at me, and at having to fend them off with an appearance of good humour. ‘Hear it from an MA’ is not only particularly well-written, it also is fresh and funny, with the right amount of self-deprecation, wit, and gentle sarcasm. I could relate to it, and laugh reading it at the same time. I know the ‘cluelessness’ and ‘disorientation’ she spoke of, but also of our delight in (most) of our courses.
She suddenly turns serious when describing the point of the humanities, which surprises the reader, because until then it’s been amusing and droll. This article is insightful and humorous, and a great example of a more lighthearted Op-Ed piece.
His Pick: Manifesto Reviews 2013-14
I loved the Manifesto Reviews. As someone who has attended all soap boxes to make an informed decision while voting, I am used to hearing a whole lot of promises being made. While it all sounds fancy then, we are left in the dark when it comes to whether something has been implemented or not, and T5E took it up and informed the voter.
What is interesting to note is the completion ratio of most secretaries is abysmal. While a few points have been shot down by the institute administration, a lot of ideas seem to have been infeasible, and in the race to have a stellar manifesto, the secretaries seem to have overlooked this crucial check. It certainly made me change the way I vote. Did it help you in any way?
Her Pick: Notes from an (almost) Failed Summer
“I wanted the friends, the right guy, the song that’ll be my college experience, the book that’ll revolutionize my perspective and the movie that’ll change my thinking, the photo that’ll show me happy and with my teeth not too big. When you move out of the house and to a place 330 kilometers away (parent-free), when you turn 18 and stop wearing the Uniform, that’s what you expect. I know, I know. I was naive and idealistic.”
If you’re a freshie at the end of The First Year, grappling with the near-customary phase of disillusionment coupled with lingering traces of newbie bewilderment, or a jaded senior who’ll chuckle as the sentiments expressed remind of times past, or even an in-betweener like myself, it’s hard not to be charmed by the warmth and eloquence of Liza Tom’s Blogicle piece. There’s also that dash of sarcasm that makes it a nice antidote to the existential crisis induced by a conversation with That Ex-Schoolmate who seems to have done everything short of discovering a new continent over the summer, and is infuriatingly nonchalant about it to boot. It rings a bell, elicits the odd chuckle and the vigorous nod that says ‘I know, right?’ and wonderfully balances out the more ‘serious’ content on T5E.
We’re well into yet another one of those long summer breaks, and if you’re already searching for a fast-forward button that’ll leave the interminable months behind, give this one a read. Maybe you’ll feel a little better. Or maybe you’ll feel like jotting down some of your own thoughts on insti life (or the in-limbo spaces in between). And if it sounds good enough, send it in! For all that is lacklustre and crib-worthy in life, there’s always solace to be sought in good reading and writing, and here’s to hoping that T5E can play a part.
His Pick: Campus Placements: An Incomplete Choice
Which T5E article put up over the last one year did I like the best? Well, the choice is, admittedly, quite difficult — I really enjoyed reading each of the articles that the others have picked, and a few others that nobody has picked. But one article which, in my opinion, definitely deserves a place on this list is Campus Placements: An Incomplete Choice, by Harsha ‘Jumba’ Ravichandran, an alumnus from the Civil Engineering department who graduated in 2011.
Among the articles we put up last year, this was one of the most relevant to a student body which, as the article rightly notes, largely sees placements as the ‘culmination of one’s journey in insti’. Jumba, through some very well-written prose, brings out a refreshing new perspective of the whole thing.
All that said, this piece is a great example of what is undoubtedly one of T5E’s most important functions — to serve as a platform for the expression of interesting opinions and perspectives from various sources, to open minds, spark debates, make people understand each other better, and (hopefully) make insti a better place. Have something to say yourself? Feel free to write to us. 🙂