C-rappy Cacophony

Thursday, January 08, 2004

You now..Old student isn't it,now?...

I was reading some articles/columns in sulekha.com and got inspired in jotting down some incidents that I felt were memorable though insignificant.Here is one of them.

I have visited India twice,since coming to U.S in july 2000, for holidays spanning a month.Both the times,my penchant for reliving the past made me make trips to Thirumalaisamudhram.Upon hearing this name,for a second,everybody gets a picture of some old,historic place making its majestic presence felt with a marvellous palace adjoining the ocean.But the sad truth is that it is just a barren land lying on the outskirts of Tanjore enroute to Trichy with no other significance associated it other than it rendering base to the gargantuan buildings belonging to Shanmugha college of Engineering and happening to be the place where many brilliant minds spend around 4 years of their life.Some say that it was the worst phase of thier life ,while many others portray the exact opposite.I belong to the latter category.
My 4 years in Engineering taught me more about life than all my other phases of life put together.Before anybody gets a wrong picture about technical education being the topic of discussion here,let me clarify that it was one of the last priorities or aspects that occupied my mind during my 4 years of undergraduate study.What I meant was the various aspects of life that those 4 years had to offer to me in terms of living independently,planning for the future,making friends for life and more than everything - accepting harsh realities in life and leading a contented life.The entirely carefree attitude associated with hostel life was a treat to many students like me.
The College classrooms,most of the days happened to be our favorite joint for meeting with friends and spending quality time discussing an entire gamut of topics ranging from the local mundane tea-shop talks to the IEEE research findings.(Well,I am sure atleast one of those ardent afficianados of Engineering,seated on the first benches,would have talked about IEEE!!!).
Before I joined B.E,I had always wondered if the so-called HOD's were as idiosyncratic as shown in the indian movies.Almost all of these movies had made me believe strongly that this tribe of extraordinary gentlemen belonged to their early 50s,with a grim face and every action of theirs portraying the geeky,dumb character that any youngster would try not to be associated with.This notion of mine about the head of the departments was corroborated when I entered the portals of ECE at Shanmugha.Our HOD,although was also an idosyncratic individual,he was a class apart from the general portrayal that I had witnessed in movies.He was a man,who lived in his own world ,trying to enforce all the silly rules that the college had prescribed to its fullest extent.His mannerisms,way of talking,his attitude-everything brought a unpleasant feeling invariably among almost all the students of our batch.When I make that statement,I exclude the highly academically oreinted comic characters who too existed in the classrooms.His attitude towards his students was that of a high school teacher towards his adolescent students.He never tried to understand the ground reality that he was teaching in self-financing college and not in one of the premier institution such as the IITs.Being a stickler to the traditional system of science and ancient scientific idea,all his lectures bore the flavour of the old 1950 textbooks filled with explanations consisting of vacuum tubes and age-old bulky transistors.Most of the students including me,had a 'naam-ke-vaasthe' respect towards him and were never forgetful in cursing him once he vanished from the corridors.
My only sense of gratitude towards such a person came from the only good thing that I felt he did to me.He showed his largesse in showering encomiums in the Recommending letter that he gave for my M.S college applications.I was flabbergasted when I got his reco letter which had lie written all over it,one of which was me being on the top 10% of the class.It was great reading about myself which I myself didn't know that I was good in.According to my reco letter,I had great interest in telecommunications and was very shrewd in class.It also said that I was proficient in oral and written skills in English,Hindi,French and sanskrit.There were many other wierd stories that I heard about his recos that my other friends got from him.
As I alighted from the trichy Govt bus at the college bus-stop on a hot August afternoon,I was reminded of the good-old college days.Almost immediately my feet made the walking straight to the opposite tea-shop-the favorite 'Udayar kadai'.I went in and looked into the mirror on the wall as every other student used to do upon entering or leaving the shop.I sat in the usual bench and asked for 2 parottas and an omelette.I could sense the same feeling as I devoured upon those delicasies.It really did taste better than the "Olive Garden-eggplant parmesian' or my favorite Nacho-cheese taco!As I wiped clean the banana leaf,I went for my favorite cup of tea,not to forget the 1 Re- karachev packet that I emptied along with it.
Then I crossed the road and went into College compound.I treaded through the first year block towards the library and was bewildered to find that the library had been moved to a different location.The number of buildings had almost doubled since I left.I continued on and then reached my department building,which reminded me of the great times I had spent with my select group of friends.All through this walk,my mind was churning out fond memories of the golden era and suddenly I came back to reality when I saw a familiar entity pass by.It was one of my lecturers who failed to recognise me.Then I walked into my HOD's room and waited outside his cabin.I was able to overhear his familiar conversation with some student.The student was getting his daily dose of bitter medicine from the HOD for having bunked classes the day before.Then as my turn came,I went in and introduced myself ..
Me:'Sir,Rajesh Parameshwaran -2000 ECE pass out student Sir'
HOD:'Hmmm...what now?what do u want now?'
Me:'I am doing My MS at Texas Tech Univ,U.S.A..just came down for a visit.'
HOD:'Oh...2000 Batch isnt it?Ganesh Srinivasan Batch..now isnt it?'
Me: Yes Sir.
HOD gave his characteristic irritating look and called his assistant..
HOD:'Narayanaaaa...Come here...See..now...This is old student now...has come now..See if he has paid the library dues/lab fees now..If not collect it from him..now..'
I got the holy frigging shock of my life.I never ,in my wildest dreams had imagined that a person would stoop to such a low standard.I,almost immediately left that place and vowed never to meet that person!
Some people may age but old habbits die hard.That was the lesson I learnt that day!It was an insignificant incident but was a memorable incident!

Posted by rajesh |

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