I remember it was a 2/10 that I scored in Biology in 10th grade, that made me realize I would never be able to do heart surgeries in the future! Although, I wouldn’t entirely attribute my decision to take up Engineering to that. My love for Astrophysics, Sir Newton’s laws of Gravitation, documentaries on Einstein that my mother made me watch as a child and an immense fascination for Geometry pushed me to believe that I was born to be an Engineer and would undoubtedly “save the world one day”.
Cut to class 12, after two years of the Volcanic pressure every Engineering aspirant in India goes through, I was left with a choice to take up Engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology, among few other private institutes, (none of which were my dream colleges), which later went on to become my Alma Mater. I went to the University’s sprawling beautiful campus for admission, and it was only then that I realized that Engineering actually had so many branches – Computer Science, Electrical, Mechanical, Civil and a few more, that “rishtedaar” don’t consider worthy enough to mention. Until then, I didn’t even know that Electrical and Electronics were two different branches! Well, after hearing “Tum ladki ho, computer science lelo, AC mein comfortable naukri rahegi”, I figured it was my time to be the next Zuckerberg or Bill Gates and create the next big technology in the world. Little did I know of, the innumerable backlogs that awaited me in the near future! After paying the not so cheap tuition fee, taking a round of the hostels, meeting a couple of professors and staring at the huge hoardings in campus, advertising the placement rates and college rankings, I realised this was it. A small yet powerful town of Tamil Nadu was to be my home for the next 4 years – Vellore.
The first year was spent making new friends, trying not to miss “maa ke haath ka khaana”, learning to wake up on your own, learning how to do laundry, finding cheap alternatives to mess food (a.k.a Maggi), befriending seniors to get into College Societies and spending too much money on textbooks that eventually wouldn’t help us pass exams, because let’s face it, nobody can teach an engineer more than the roommate, a night before the exam! I was pretty excited to learn coding, but like most first year students, I would comfortably understand the logic but wouldn’t be able to write a code on my own without the compiler throwing errors I couldn’t fix.
The next 2 years were basically spent cursing why I took Engineering, trying to clear Calculus, Computer Networks, Microprocessors, JAVA and surviving on roommate ke haath ki Maggi. But there was also rule breaking, taking money from home on the pretext of buying books and using it to sneak off to nearby cities for a sasta holiday, gossiping in the hostel at 2 am, stalking bloggers on Instagram and secretly wanting their lives, hunting for online material to pass courses, drowning in assignments and planning college fests. The last year, was nothing short of emotion and stress. It was placement season! And the much awaited farewell! As we tried new diets every week to look like Shilpa Shetty in a saree, along with sitting for placements, we realised we didn’t have a lot of time left with each other. I was scared, how would life be once college ended, where would I be, would I still meet my friends, would I manage to succeed in my career, would I manage to find the perfect saree that fits my curves and makes heads turn on my Farewell! Today, an year after graduating, I realize how tiny my worries were, how I dealt with my worries the wrong way, and how it’s all turned out better than what I ever thought. My friends are still here, I found the man of my dreams and I’m enjoying my career in Data Analytics, with the occasional Corporate World bickering.
Engineering isn’t my degree hung on the wall of my home, it’s an emotion, a priceless journey that lakhs of Indians instantly connect to, that we take pride in. The 4 years – they taught me how to have Old Monk, they taught me that green is not just a colour, they taught me that the Chai shop outside Gate 3 can fix any problem in the world, they taught me that the friends we make in college will always stay, they taught me to take care of a friend at 3 am, they taught me the value of a simple dal cooked at home, that it’s okay if relationships from college didn’t work out, because someone better is waiting. To the chef, the singer, the dancer, the writer, the entrepreneur, the comedian that chose to live these 4 years and then pursue their passion, to the ones who found their dream corporate job, to the ones who wanted to study even beyond, to the ones who still haven’t finished this journey, to the ones cursing their corporate jobs right now and thinking of Start-up ideas and to all of us who cleared all our backlogs, Happy Engineer’s Day!