Nostalgia -Freshie @ IIT

*considering that many of our readers might be joining college as freshmen in the coming few days , here is my take on what it felt like to be a” freshie”
Sitting in a taxi, on a hot and sultry day, moving like a snail in Mumbai traffic was the situation I least wanted to be in. But the place I was heading towards, and the joy that was brimming in my heart by the mere thought of studying there for the next five years, made me wrap up my bundle of complaints and throw it mercilessly in the manhole the taxi just passed by. Ouch! It must have said. Not that I cared. :-p
IIT Bombay – it was a dream come true. “OMG! “ –my friends had said and “OMG!” it was! The hallowed portals of IIT-B were open for me now and I couldn’t have asked for more.
Imagine the happiness of Einstein if he had developed his unified theory, or how mind blown NASA would have been if it had discovered life on Mars, or for that matter, the satiation of Coyote if he had captured the Roadrunner .Tenfold it-you get scenario 1. Okay,now imagine the terror in your mind if you had been on the verge of a zombie apocalypse. Multiply it a hundred times-Scenario 2 .
Scenario 1 + Scenario 2 -> Kaboom – You have now got the exact feelings that were playing trampoline in my poor heart. I am pretty much in control of emotions,aren’t I ? ;)
My chain of thoughts was interrupted by the sudden halt of the taxi. We had reached our destination.”Admission ke liye aye hain? Offer letter dikhaiye”was what the gatekeeper said. I fumbled through my file and handed it over to him. Then we headed towards the hostel 10-which is a place symbolic of the femme fatale of IITB, or so the website said.
The place was no Utopia,but it was a lot greener, cooler and I apparently felt as if I was breathing more easy .After a ride through the definitely “not” hyped Mumbai traffic, that definitely was a relief. Checklist -Reach hostel-check , registration formalities-done, meet mentor –check, cry over the size of the room-been there , done that !
So after all the hectic events of the day, all that was left was –apprehension. I mean, I was at altogether different place, so far from home. How was I going to handle everything? The academics,the extra curriculars, the new people? What if I am ragged? What if I am not strong enough to survive here alone? What if I am not able to make friends? The tension was killing me, along with the heat, and the mosquitoes. The rain didn’t make me feel any better .The night was seemed longer than it was. Glad I was not the only one who was going crazy.There were 800 odd students going through the same mental state, perhaps.
Monday mornings are bad generally, but are exacerbated if it’s the first day of classes.My classes were supposed to be in the afternoon , so me and my department mates decided to go over and check the venues of our classes . Economics and mathematics.Interesting . I must admit that walking around so much before classes, that too before the ones which you had to attend in an AC hall, with very comfortable seats, after lunch ,wasn’t one of my most brilliant ideas. I found myself struggling to keep my eyelids from dropping throughout the economics class. I managed. Next was mathematics-calculus. My favourite! Its gonna be easy! The first class did give me that impression .I couldn’t have been more wrong .Days passed, I adjusted to the afternoon schedule.I managed to stay awake during most classes and also got myself to scribble a few notes.As we progressed with the course- I found myself cursing epsilon and delta for being so disastrous to students. Chemistry wasn’t much better.Schrodinger-why art thou not easy ? Along with Schrodinger’s cat, “lukkha”, “sorry rahega”, “chamka”, “maggu”and other words of the esteemed IITB lingo found their path towards my words of daily use. Not that I regret it albeit.
C++ was course I loved, though I did struggle in the initial days when I found the lab assignments tough , not because they were difficult but because they made me panic. Point noted-work on that ASAP.The chemistry lab was a piece of cake, and so would have the workshop been , if it hadn’t been for N number of accidents that I had which led to a lot of earning of the canteen guy for bandages and oh yes , an injection for tetanus too.But I wasn’t the only one who was being the “bad luck Brian”, my departmen mate got badly hurt too and ended up swooning at the sight of his own blood jetting out like a fountain from his hand. Felt sorry for him, though I myself was not in a state which would qualify as much better.
Contrary to all the doubts I had, I did make a lot of friends and had that share of fun which JEE preparation had so deprived us of ! The starting few days , we all were hardly aware of studies, with all the Mood Indigo,Techfest,E-Cell and various club orientations stealing our time. Free internet-how can one not be overwhelmed by that?There is hardly something that a freshie can resist(mess food not counted, that is despised by the animals too ). Adage goes-“All happy days end “and mine ended with the onset of the quiz1. Horrible results after the horrendous exams. 8/20 was my score in maths and I could hardly hold back my tears. This was unacceptable,this was not how it was supposed to be. I have failed myself. All the depressing thoughts in the world found their way to me,as if I was some grief magnet or something.
In dire need of a pep talk, I went to my mentor. I remember what she said-“ Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength”. This place has the best talent the country has got. It’s a great leveler- you will always find somebody better than you, but that shouldn’t make one sad, it should just make one strive to work harder. IIT is the place of rediscovering oneself and one’s talents. Your only competition should be you yourself. I have never felt so rejuvenated before, I felt as if I were a phoenix who will rise from its own ashes . I was up and about and didn’t look back. We all had our fun and times of study were interspersed but I never regret making those mistakes in the starting days. I learnt and isn’t that the reason why we all were here? Life went on, quizzes came and went, assignments didn’t panic me, but the workshop sure did. But nothing made me forget the metamorphosis from a “nabdu freshie” to someone more confident! I completed my first semester with the most optimistic perspective about life that I have ever had. Eternally etched in my memory are those days.