It's been nearly four years now. Well, actually closer to three but I've started the fourth, so, by applying the value adjustment strategies last used only in the Physics laboratories of yore, we can safely call it a nice round 4. Now that that's out of the way, we can proceed in peace.
As I was saying, it's been almost four years in an Engineering course and I was recently wondering what it was that I've learnt in all this time. And I'm still wondering. I'm not exactly the sincerest of students but even then, it's a professional degree for David Lynch's sake
. So, after a lot more wondering, I finally decided that the best way to go would be to slowly and systematically analyse my engineering course activities so far and then try and hopefully arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
So, we start.
The First Year (2001-2002)
In the Great Republic of Pseudo-China, this year was referred to as the 'Year of The Deer-in-the-Headlights'
, and not without good reason.
Delighted that I was finally done with school, I had spent the next few months engaging myself in some really strenuous activity. Come August, and it was time for Academic life to take centrestage again. So, it was with great sadness that I said my good-byes to the comfy couch and the five daily meals (not counting the snacks) and prepared myself for the rigours of Engineering College life. At that point, I had had a premonition that it was going to be a really long year.
But as it happens, even the best of us can get it wrong. It wasn't that long a year. It was more like a really short millenium.
Engineering College wasn't all that difficult but that doesn't necessarily mean that it was great fun either. All the hopes and dreams I had built up all along about college life came crashing down to earth with a huge thud, right on my own head. All the frolicking with lovely girls in the corridors a la 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'
were now a distant mirage. College, in the real world, was just a dingy classroom with lecturers who appeared to have jumped right out of some weird foreign language art film. Not to mention hour-long bus journeys and lousy canteen food.
By the time the year was finally over, I was feeling exactly like a well-worn pair of socks.*
Whatever I was supposed to have learnt, I most definitely hadn't and that's all I remember from first year.
I know socks are inanimate but I'm guessing if they had feelings, they'd probably feel just like I did back then.
The Second Year (2002-2003)
The Year of the Worker Bee (Not!)
You might be surprised, but even in today's world, there a number of people who think girls have no business going to engineering college. Well, in the second year, I discovered that they had a very good reason to do so.
Engineering Colleges everywhere have one thing in common and that is that they're all filled with no-good, half-assed, lazy guys and I have to rather ashamedly admit that I'm one of them. It's for guys like us that girls come to college for. Without their help, I have no friggin idea of what I'd have done in the second year.
This was also the year I discoverd that I had a real talent for creative writing. I discovered that in the wonderful world of Information Technology, the usage of a few core words like 'system'
again and again with a healthy number of other simple words in between would do very nicely in the examination papers. Also, experimenting with the number of ways you can write the same sentence is appreciated by the wonderful Anna University.
For example, let us consider the rather profound question 'Explain data transmission over Computer Networks?'
Here is how I'd go about answering it,
'The transmitting system sends the data over the data channel to the receiving sytem which receives the data. Thus, we can infer that the data is sent from the source all the way to the destination with the help of the systems in between the source and the destination. The working of the system is as follows: The transmitter first sends the data, then the receiver receives it. The sheer simplicity of the whole procedure is what has made data trasmission over networks a vital feature of networks today. The process can be carried out in steps as follows:
Step 1: Transmitter transmits data
Step 2: Receiver receives data.'
Ok, what've we learned so far...
The Third Year (2003-2004)
The Year of the Hippo-in-the-Swamp
Third year was slightly peaceful. I had settled into a comfy routine. Without taxing myself too much, I had managed to figure out what it took to get out of colege with a reasonable score. The implementation of the plan didn't require too much effort either.
No article about Engineering College life in Chennai can be complete without a mention of the redoubtable Charulatha Publications
or their remarkable series of publications known in the student community simply as '.....made easy'
. Remarkable is definitely not the word. There was 'Operating Systems made easy
', 'Digital Signal Processing made easy
'. Name the subject and it was immediately made easy... just for you. And that is what made it the most astounding series of books to come out of the great publishing houses of Earth, Ursa Minor and Major all put together.
A million times at least, I've glanced at my watch and seen that there was an hour
left for the semester exam to start. A friend would pass me a well thumbed copy of '....made easy'
and it was as if, like The Guide, it had the words 'Don't Panic'
in bright red friendly letters on the cover. And, also like The Guide, it's much cheaper than the extravagantly priced prescribed texts. One look at it and I'd feel my body beginning to relax. My mind would become clearer and all the knowledge I gathered from the book, I'd spit it out on my answer sheet and go on to successfully clear the exam. It helped me pass. Me. Pass.
That's how magical the book was!
To put it in a nutshell, engineering college has been, so far at least, a criminal waste of time, money and all other resources known to man.
As you can probably sense, I'm all nostalgic right now and the tears are flowing freely down my very chubby cheeks. So, I'll stop it here. You guys have a good time.