Sunday, December 7, 2008

To B.E. or not to B.E. ?

Hmm, I was going through a certain book on word etymos and something which surprised me was the term, Bachelor -- meaning an unmarried male, in common parlance. Now, I have been pondering on this term for a while coz I have never been able to figure out why is someone is awarded a degree stating " Bachelor of Engineering " , so on and so forth..Do they mean that the poor chap who's awarded the degree is unmarried to engineering,when ironically, he's spent 4 precious years trying to figure out the nitty-gritties of the same and in all likelihood has failed to grasp them!

Now, it's surprising that the Forum for International Feminine Associations (FIFA in short) hasn't launched a scathing attack on the powers that be, to find the Bachelors degree to be disappointingly sexist and thereby launch a Spinsters degree for the females who would have been otherwise awarded the Bachelors degree. But the fact that they won't crib over the Masters degree is evident coz after all, its Mistresses who anyway rule over the Masters in most prevailing conditions. Anyway, here ends the reference to the title of this post. On to more serious issues..

Getting an admit into IIT (not the Illinois one) is a matter of prestige for most of the wanna-be engineers and their parents in the nation. But has anyone wondered about the situation of the fellow post-entry into IIT ? It has become an awkward state of mind for the lad when he returns home (especially, if he is not studying in an IIT in his place of residence, if there exists one). Any allegation on me bearing charges of anti-feminism can be mailed to : and for those without allegations, can continue reading this post, if they are interested to..Now this guy who comes back has a burden of the IIT tag on him. Yes, I call it a burden coz every move of his is scrutinized by the dastardly elements of the society wishing to prove that IITians are human in as palpable a manner as possible. The funny part is this - IITians never claimed they were superhuman, but have always maintained the fact that they are human. So what's the need to prove someone down in this process ? The problem is, this tag stays with him forever until he retires and comes back as a prof in an IIT coz then, he's living with people of similar backgrounds.

Another embarassing situation arrives when this lad is introduced to some friend of his parents as " My son studies in IIT-X*" and there falls the sky on his head. And God save the poor chap if this Mister whom he's introduced to, has a son/daughter aspiring to be an IITian and is probably preparing for the famed JEE ! It's not that he doesnt wish to help out but it's just the fact that he wouldn't want to be pestered with people asking for advice. After all, coaching classes are meant to be there for the same reason. They too have ex-IITians as some of the faculty members. Well, my interaction with students of other IITs has been limited but from what I have gathered, life at almost all IITs, remain the same, except for a bit of grading differences and maybe certain facilities and probably, ragging. But this fact just doesn't sink into other aspirants, moreso their parents I would say. It's good to be concerned about one's ward's future but excessive advice seeking never did anyone good unless they were going to start up their own firm with a database of these advices.

Now, it's the time for this IITian ( let's call him XY, poor fellow will have a name ot identify with his chromosome at least )--ok XY goes to a nearby mart whose owner (O) has known him for the past 6 years. Seeing XY after a long hiatus, he enquires about his education and the conversation is as follows :

O : So XY, coming back from a long vacation huh ?
XY : No sethji, just came back on a vacation from college.
O : College ? waah, badhiya hai. Which college ?
XY (with a sense of pride) : IIT - Delhi ji..
O : Arrey, ek ITI toh apne Mulund mein bhi hai na, yeh dilli-willi kyun jaana ! (Mulund- a suburb on the outskirts of Mumbai)
XY : /*Damn, this fellow doesn't know difference between IIT and ITI*/
XY : Arrey nahin, IIT , like the one in Powai..IIT Bombay..suna hai na ?
O : Oh achcha, like that bolo na..toh why Delhi beta ? Powai mein donation dena tha kya ?
XY : /*Damn, no point explaining him. Next he'll ask me my CET score and tell me that I could have got in VJTI itself( VJTI-- is the "best" engineering college in Mumbai, if IITB is not considered into picture) */
XY : Haan, that was the case. Chalo, I've work to do. Will come later.
O to another customer : Poor fellow..was a brilliant chap but couldn't get a seat in Mumbai itself. Had to go to Delhi of all the places !

This above conversation is not a myth but a morphed version of the real one which I encountered last summer. And I thought IITians were famous. No wonder, the political party floated by a certain group of IITians ( I think it's called Lok Paritran ) is a disaster !

Above all this, there's always the fact that your friends,( those who are fortunately/unfortunately not in IITs despite deserving to be so) will view any statement made by you with a prejudiced attitude, unlike the times before you cleared JEE. It's a part and parcel of this process called life that you move on from one time period to another and in this process, I think it's humanely impossible to keep in touch with anyone and everyone you knew well prior to joining IIT. And once you come back to your residential town and if you dont call up these bum-chums, they would think of you as "another IITian who doesn't care about us now that we aren't fellows in his league ". A popular misconception, I must say. I agree that it's a bit difficult to maintain the same bonhomie prevalent earlier and getting that spark back again does take time; added to the fact that every damned person has some expectation or the other from this XY that he's totally confused as to what to do and gets pained by trying to please everyone ( but in the process, ends up pleasing none coz he's worried about the statements he makes which become a bit formal over a period of time as he's unsure as to how the world shall react to them--once again leading to the Pre-IITian and Post-IITian schools of thought :( )

All said and done, I guess the only way to sort this thing out would probably not consider IITians as geniuses; at least don't be prejudiced in judging a person's statements, whether he's an IITian or not, coz we are all human after all, and mistakes or correct decisions are never decided whether a person is an IITian or not.

** There do exist female IITians but I have never been in their shoes to corraborate the same into my post.
## I hope this post is not considered with prejudice as an IITian's post or else, my whole purpose would be dissolved !


Shrey said...

Let me be the first one to show my appreciation as well as gratitude for writing about something that pretty much every IITian faces during pretty much every holiday season that he spends home (especially, if he is not studying in an IIT in his place of residence, if there exists one), which is actually one of the reasons why many of us (me atleast) prefer spending them at the institutes themselves (which, in my case, is in Kharagpur, which further aggrevates the situation described, for me) or away to some other city on an internship instead of our hometowns. As I write this, I am about to leave for a social gathering at a distant relative's place, and know for a fact that I'm going to encounter all the situations described. Damn these winter vacations!!

And by the way, I would definitely like to know more about You-Know-Who.

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

Hmm, Thanks for you views Mr. Goyal..I pretty much appreciate your patience to go through the full post :)

Enjoy your social gatherings :P..and if you are a foodie, enjoy the food as well !

Boneywasawarriorwayayix said...

Nice post maama!! It is something which I have been facing ever since I joined IIT. And it gets worse when are with old ladies in a train.. :)

Vinay Hegde said...

Couldn't agree more with you!
Especially about the type of conversations narrated and the morphed friendships.. In fact,(during a batch get-together) one of my old friends to me: "Whenever you speak, you go on about IIT this- IIT that-.. Speak about something else na!". This was just five min after we met and after my first statement about IITM! I mean, this can sometimes hurt..

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

@Samadhi and Vinay : I'm pained, therefore I rant :P

@Samadhi : Bang-Madras--6 hrs, Bombay-Madras--26 hrs..macha, imagine my torture then..especially when travelling alone and nothing but a satirical book to entertain me :|