I woke up at 7 am, 45 minutes ahead of the time I normally wake up for college. I had time to stretch, think about my day ahead , bathe and have breakfast. I realised that my body, mind and heart are all synchronized to set course for this journey, or what people call, a ‘rat race’. Being in the best engineering institution in India, IIT-Madras (yes, I would proudly say there isn’t any institution better than mine in India, and MHRD agrees), comes with a lot of pressure. Everyone I know and every stranger in the train looks at me as if I am a nerdy teenager who is going to be a millionaire overnight after being sleepless for the past 4–6 years,settled in the US or the man with the next Google. I curse the CS department in IITs for they make a very unfair playground. I digress. I find it interesting how I switched from rat race to a playground. Maybe it is because everything is a mask of something bigger. My pride in my institution, however, can be considered bogus as I feel I haven’t exploited the institute to the fullest. The only profit I have made was the availability of free internet. I just realised that I haven’t even used the washing machine as much as it should have been used in my four years in college. No wonder after a point I starting losing the girls. This thought takes me back to a very fundamental question: Do I deserve to be here? The answer wasn’t hard for me. It was solid ‘yes’. I did what had to be done during the hard, tiresome times, I reached here and I earned it. Modesty urges me to say I got a few answers correct by blindly guessing in IIT-JEE but, spare me. That said, here I stand, confused and chaotic with a simple question in my mind: What next?
I joined IIT-Madras dreaming of being an engineer, who could make a difference in established companies so that they, in turn, can have a magnanimous impact on the society, irrespective of the strata. In my head, this dream was tied to the fact that I could work with a professor who shared a similar interest. In the first few days, I dreamt of discussing a global issue or an engineering marvel with my professor over a cup of coffee. But no, classes were tight, first year excitement was rolling and everyone was busy in their own world. Slowly, my interest in engineering, the only interest I had, died off. This left me clueless which is when I started meeting people of the opposite sex, made bad choices and good ones. A phase of every college student goes through. I know it doesn’t paint in the best light, but my age and the restlessness that accompanies it led to events I prefer to push to the depths of my mind.
Things need to rest at some point and I moved on to the other interests, while I can still call them as interests. To trigger the passion I begged myself for, the drive which once took me to heights, I joined a humble yet massive project, the IITMSAT project. Friendship, discussion, passion, engineering and management, it all came to me. It opened me to a new perspective to education, engineering and myself. Like the wise men say, all good things must come to an end. So did my connection with the project when things got tough for me. Presently, IITMSAT is the most prestigious project of the institute.
Time flashes before me, I can’t fully recollect what I have done, what I wanted to do and what I planned on doing. Do I have to consider this as a new start or is this me fading away?
1st August 2016 has passed. The final year has started. All everyone can talk about is courses, electives, MOOCs, placements, entrance tests for higher education and start-ups. What do I want? Where do I head? What is the best for me? Will I get what I find is apt for me, or am I too late? Should I just quit? Or let time decide? It’s getting to me. I hear from the adjacent room guys deciding which colour of shirt they should wear for meeting each company’s representative. Life took a toll on me, my waist size has increased, should I be bothered? Will I forget to get pants that fit me if I am eligible to sit for placements? I sat down, called my parents and confessed, admitted and apologized for my fucked up situation. Fear ran through my spine when I had to express all this to them. I broke the bubble of my college life, for they never knew what CGPA meant, what quizzes meant and what PoRs were. The thought that it might backfire made me hesitant but at the end of my conversation I realized that I have got all the support I need to take up any challenge that is up in front of me — be it not getting a job, a failed entrance exam or a failed start-up — I knew they had my back. Now, all I have to do is to put in my 100% effort, something that I have forgotten and is almost non-existent in my present world. Inspite of it all, a part of me believes if someone can apply oil into my cog wheels, I would be up and running in no time. I feel rusty already, but I want to do it and the sole thing that drives me at the moment is the fact that I want to live with confidence that I can ask the girl I like to be mine after I know I have mildly established myself in what people call ‘Life’. So I accept this self challenge, and I am calling this as my mission, a mission to get back the laurels that I never had in college and to craft new dreams. Mission December ain’t so impossible. My mission.
It’s never to late to be whom you might have been — George Elliot