It’s a dream of every aspiring engineer to end up in IIT; India’s most prestigious technical college and one of the producers of the world’s brightest engineers. But when a student after cracking IIT-JEE with a not so ‘flashy’ rank aspires for a core branch and ends up in one of the “new” IITs, all he or she wishes is if they could have scored a little more in JEE and ended up with some course in the “real old” IITs.
The impact on me was profuse when I being a student of one of the “new” IITs visited IIT Kharagpur, the oldest and the biggest of the IITs. The half-a-century old college made me fall in love with it on the first sight. It was a cold December night when we landed in world's longest railway station; Kharagpur. We had gone to participate in Inter IIT sports meet. They sent a huge cargo truck to carry our luggage and a bus to ferry us. The first impression was not really the best impression.
The better came when we saw their hostels. It was an expanse of corridors and rooms with washrooms only rarely visible destinations at the end of the long corridors. Surely in this matter our hostels had an edge.The next amazing sight was their mess. It was well maintained, huge, organised and one of them even had a television set (well now that you can argue to be a luxury).
As we went further we saw buildings with departments written on them in grand fashion. I stood between Departments of Humanities and Architecture and thought that’s all my college has; two small buildings. With sights of each department buildings coming up, each began hitting my mind and heart as boulders rolling down from a mountain. By the time we reached the huge Nehru Museum, which was behind the academic section, my mind was in a dizzy and my legs were trembling. I was caught in total despair and disgust as to why I took the core branch in the new IIT, why I didn’t take any ‘not-so-famous’ course and get into some ‘real’ IIT.
Our hearts truly filled up with envy and over whelmed with amazement when we took a night stroll, through the lanes of IIT KGP. With lush greenery, abundance of open spaces, numerous cheap and delicious food joints, subsidised ‘Café Coffee Day’; the place astonished me at every step.
The sports facilities were immense. Their ‘Technology’ Gymkhana building had more badminton courts than our whole college. They had grounds for practice in couplets all over the campus with separate small practice places in each ‘hall’ (which is what they called their hostels).
They had a market area called ‘Tech Market’ which was another place to be seen. It had everything required for household and everything a student would require, and prices there were hell low.
Another notable observation was that every shop there had a complete section exclusively for ‘sutta’. It was like a customary item for them, mandatory for them to survive.
At night time every girls’ hostels’ nearby ‘lonely corners’ used to be occupied with love birds. Beneath overgrown trees and in dark corners where street lights can’t reach, they use to crouch down to have fun. I heard that every well-built college had such areas. I couldn’t think of one in ours (maybe I will discover one when I have to!).
Now the final thing I saw which pushed my mind into turmoil was the academic section. The ‘Insti’ building was magnificent with a foundation stone on which was written-“laid by Sir Jawahar Lal Nehru in March 1952”.
But what to do such are life dearies………
(to be continued……)