Friday, 2 March 2007

The woods and birds I saw……

At the shadows of Dusk,
the rider slowed.
A solitary sparrow streaked home,
mindless of the tepid wind,
blowing to the setting sun.
Orange crimson shades of glow
danced in the wind,
delightfully painting the earth and leaves.
Behind a crimson veil,
a shy-moon waited for the weary sun to sleep.
“O ye Dusk,
sweet lass of sun and moon;
a virgin you will always awake as
for, for my senses to satiate
you never linger till I sleep”.

I was asked to write something for the college magazine. Any topic, No word limit. Just a deadline - within the week. But what do I write about? I didn’t want to make it another one of my serious analysis. I cant keep them out altogether, either. With just a few months, or maybe days, to go before a new batch replaces us in this college, musings and memories of these four years is good enough theme to fill the next few pages.

And when I did write, the editorial board rejected it saying, “Too negative to be put in CET magazine”. You decide.

So here I go.. Beware - I will be writing just as things come to my mind. True to a human mind, I'll jump from event to event, the link may not be visible.

To start, I think, I should go to the day I joined the college. There are six Loyolites in my class and having heard many dreadful stories about ragging, we decided to avoid the college bus completely for the first few days. So it had to be the KSRTC buses. As per plan we came together and went to class as a group. The class had already started (it's first year after all). Permission granted, we entered the class and occupied the back benches. We already knew the best place in the class, I think. I don’t remember much of those initial classes except that almost all classes for the first few months were engaged. Whenever we got free time, we Loyolites went out together. Be it for exploring the various blocks or for just chatting away in the park adjacent to the arkee building.

That wasn’t really my first day in this college, though. I had come here at least a couple of times while I was still at school; for the school basketball tournament. If rain played havoc with schedule, then the matches were played in the indoor stadium here. I had had a few glimpses of the college then itself. Green everywhere. Plenty of shades and open spaces. Certainly a place brimming with charm. Then I came, again, for the admission process. That was the day I experienced my first dose of ragging. Unfortunately, for us, after the counselling session, we decided to have a small stroll around the place. And whom did we meet? Poonachi!!! At least some of you must be knowing this colourful character. Anoop is his real name. His friends decided to rechristen it to a trendy poonachi (Anoop in reverse). Fortunately, the seniors were having series exams (we didn’t know that then as we hadn’t heard that term before). So after a few futile attempts at scaring us (I think we stood our ground firmly in spite of his sneers and threats), he let us go. That incident made us reaffirm our decision to move as a group, henceforth.

Other than the indoor stadium, what we as school students had heard about CET was the panchaarakaadu. Famous or infamous; I don’t know. But, certainly one of the best places in this college for small talk and.... I know a few guys in my class who had knit many dreams around this lovely place even before joining here. Sadly, those dreams are yet to bloom. As a single, myself, I am not eligible to write more about this place.

Just a few days into the first year and we already knew - CET isn’t exactly the place we had hoped it to be. Lifeless. That sums up my frustration. It's only a couple of students that I have heard saying, CET is better than their school. If you want anyone to miss their school badly, give them admission here. Ok, I am being too harsh. Couldn’t help. The faces all look blank. No activities happening. Sports? Well you can forget that as you are no more in school. Teachers and students lead separate lives, think parallely and have little or no reverence for each other. Their looks and smiles rarely greet. "Boring", was the answer I gave a senior when he quizzed me about the college, during one of my ragging sessions. He too agreed, I think, as he didn’t torture me more for that answer.

"Stop Sreejith".. "That're enough accusations"... Right. There have been many wonderful moments in this college too.

Elections is one week-long festival I have always enjoyed. Demo political outfits and dummy candidates. How can we think of an election without them? Distilled Golgiba, PARI, FLUTES are some of the names that come to my mind as I write now. Dressed in imaginative costumes and with slogans and promises that certainly can’t be reproduced here (read censored), they really helped bring down the temperatures and made elections more interesting. Speaking of weird costumes and demo parties, Demo Week is another spectacle I have always looked forward to. Black Day, Cross Day, Pandi Day (my favourite), School Day, Goonda Day and Miscellaneous Day. Words can never describe the fun and drama that these five days bring. Last year I was treated to a liberal dose of black colour on Black day. Courtesy seniors from my own department. On another day it was glitter powder. All of us had a tough time washing them off. And this year it is our turn. To become the "pandi shavam carried around on a cycle", "a school boy with lollipop and water bottle" or your friendly "local dada". Juniors, watch out!!!

Dhwani, Hostel Days, the sole College Day I have seen while in second year, irregular Electronites, Freshers Day, Sargam... have enjoyed something of all. Alas, all flattered to deceive. None could bring this college to life.

Now let me ask you all one simple question. What made you choose CET, overruling the nearby private or other government college? Placements, of course. I had a pretty good rank and had the option to take the trade of my choice. After considering all pros and cons (read dotcom bubble burst and uncertainty in software sector) I decided to take Electronics and Communication. But did I have the aptitude for it? Hey you wrote an entrance exam and cleared it with a good rank. Fine. But does that mean I have the aptitude? I have the ability to study but needn’t necessarily have had the aptitude. And this seems to be the case with hundreds of students all over Kerala. When you clear the entrance exam you are ensuring for yourself a job in one of the IT sweatshops. Enough.

Anyway the Placement Unit here was doing wonderfully well at the time of my joining. It is still going strong with record placements of around 842 offers this year; at least 150 more than last year. The moment I think about placements, it’s my MindTree Group Discussion (GD) that comes to my mind. MindTree had conducted the aptitude test a day before IBM came on campus. I attempted both. IBM had its test and interview the same day and thankfully cleared all to be selected for IBM-E&TS. Now the funny part starts. The next day MindTree announced its list of short listed candidates. My name was there in it too. GD and then interview was the procedure with elimination at each stage. I didn’t want to take another job, just for the sake of it. Also, there were still many to get a decent job. I couldn’t back out either, as it would be disrespect to them. Finally I had to attend the GD. Dressed in an ordinary shirt, no tie, plain pants, no shoes and not even the basic file and resume, I entered the room – determined to under perform!!! The topic for GD was “Relevance of Internet in today’s world”. Simple topic. After the customary 5 minutes preparation time, the moderator asked us to start. Those who desperately needed the job started speaking immediately. Meanwhile, I bent my head, staring non-stop at the carpet beneath my feet. I am supposed to be nervous and ignorant. I had a pen in my hand and I fiddled with it; turning it, opening it, fingers shaking and all. Once in a while I looked up and cast a furtive glance at the moderator. My aim was to give the impression of being a total fool, nervous to the hilt, and my downward stare also helped prevent myself from laughing. At the end, the moderator asked me to conclude. And I finished it excellently, opening my mouth for the first time then. “internet..hmm.. is very important..we use it for mailing, chatting…aaahh.. hmmm…I use orkut daily … and cant think about daily life without it..”. Can anyone better this? When I got out of the room, couple of my co-panellists came up and said “wonderful performance”. I felt pity for myself. I had to do it; but I wish now I hadn’t had to.

I have always wondered why I am able to criticise my college, so often, without any guilty feeling. Hasn’t it given me the job I wanted? Didn’t it teach me the ups and downs of adolescence? Still, I am unable to relate to this setting. CET badly lacks a strong identity. Just as the college is lifeless, we lack a character too, in general. It’s only in orkut communities that we display our strength. CET’s biggest asset is its heterogeneous student community. Leaving out the part-time students, we still are a 2500+ strong family. Family? Misnomer. We failed to capitalize on our strength - the large population - and shape ourselves into a united fighting force. I agree, developing consensus among all for each and every matter is tough. But self-interests and regional identities matter more than the college. So we have MHites/LHites/Dayscis, Tele/Mech/Civil, freshers/seniors/2nd years, Lords/Bethany/Emmaus; everything except CETians. I don’t know the context in which it is said, but some of the CET t-shirts read “undefined”; it aptly sums up our real case. Nothing to be proud of. All ye juniors – redefine yourselves as CETians!!!

I can go on like this, forever. Four years is a short period, but in retrospect so many things happened to write all in a few pages. The eccentric characters (well my friends consider me one too – psycho) in my class, happy moments like our class tours, sad ones like the death of a classmate are all worth pages. That brings me to the last nagging question in my mind - will I miss anything when I leave this college in a few months time?

ormikaan oru mara thanalo, thazhukaan oru ilam kaato illa. sookshikaan oru pidi nalla nimishangalum, kure kootukaarum maathram. avarennum koode undaakum. appol nashtathinte kanakku poojyam.


The Last Ink-Drop : I had read in a magazine, few years back, that having a nickname is after all a thing to be proud of. It just shows how much your classmates care and love you. Psycho stops here.