T5E brings to you a collection of precious moments from the insti lives of some of our ’14 passouts in a mini-series, which you can check out here. The fourth in the series, Sneha talks about her five years on campus.
I am finding it almost impossible to mull over the time I’ve spent in ‘insti’ without resorting to more than a few clichés! Almost all my reflections end with one gigantic montage of memories from ‘night walks’, Gurunath, rooftops, GC, SAC, CCD, T Gate, K Gate, Tifs, and so on! There are so many memories associated with each and every one of these places that I cannot even hope to do justice to them in this piece. I’ve spent half a decade here, and some of us can’t even imagine life any other way. More than just a summation of individual experiences, insti has surreptitiously usurped all our attention and slyly ended up becoming the centre of our lives. It almost feels like a living entity — a friend, a companion and a saviour from our otherwise sepia lives.
Perhaps my most treasured learning from insti is academic in nature. I was challenged at an intellectual level and I cherished the process of learning at the HSS Department. Every course had its share of pros and cons, but in my mind, the pros outweighed the cons. I devoured the reading material and really looked forward to the assignments and workload. Insti taught me perseverance and I enjoyed studying – something I did not think was possible! So, I guess my perspective of insti springs more from the department than anything else. As a student of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, my experience of insti was perhaps a bit different from the engineering students’. Not radically different, considering how many activities we take part in together without letting our departmental allegiances getting in the way. Still, there were certain aspects of being a ‘liberal arts student’ that will always stand out in my memory as being unique.
Right from some of my friends from the engineering stream finding courses like “Literature and Environment” strange (“Isn’t it all about trees and stuff?”, a close tech friend asked me once), to a friend considering Drams to be part of the HS curriculum, to yet another friend finding the theme of my Masters Dissertation (Consumption, Space and Identity) utterly incomprehensible — these memories will always evoke a smile in retrospect. Other times, raging wars broke out between “us” and “them”: whose education is more functional and job-oriented; whose education is more relevant; whose education fetches more intellectual stimulation? All said and done, our paths criss-crossed in this large campus and I would like to believe that we influenced each other, for better rather than worse. Today, I find myself wanting to know more about what my tech friends are doing simply out of a curiosity that I had earlier ignored out of fear. I also find myself sharing with my engineering friends books and articles that I would have earlier been patronizing about. Although a bit late in the day, a dialogue has begun and it’s heart-warming to see balanced conversations taking place. In fact, it was with a close friend of mine who did his B. Tech in Electrical Engineering that I had an extremely stimulating conversation about my masters dissertation — and he was not one bit condescending (much to my utter surprise, I must admit!).
An escape into the unknown, I came to insti unarmed and ignorant of what lay ahead. I did not know what social sciences at IIT would be like but I did know that I did not want to be elsewhere. I tried to escape from doing courses like engineering, making it ironic that I ended up at an IIT. Looking back, I feel grateful for the ‘IIT experience’. Sure, insti has given all of us bittersweet memories. In fact, I’m sure all of us have wanted to get the hell out at some point or the other (I remember calling it a deceptive prison in third and fourth year). Still, it feels very much like home. At the end of the day, insti has made me appreciate some rather basic things: individuality, responsibility, the importance of friendships and, crucially, how blissful solitude can be. A habit I can barely even begin to get rid of, insti has pretty much gotten under my skin.
About the author: Sneha A graduated with a Masters in Development Studies from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. She was a drams enthusiast, and has a few papers published in reputed journals, including the International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences.
If you graduated this Convocation, and would like to share your experiences on T5E, get in touch with us very soon at [email protected].