Thursday, April 06, 2017

E : Engineering

Engineering - the word, the sound of it and its construction will conjure different images in minds of different people. But I am no hi-fi engineer, like a computer engineer. I am not even a mechanical engineer. I am a humble agricultural engineer, proverbial Son of the Soil. I bet many of you wouldn't even know such a field of engineering even exists. But here I am talking about it. 
Before I write further let me get few things out of the way:

1. This post is not about Agricultural Engineering or for that matter any field of engineering. The post is all about the four years of my engineering and what I did apart from academic learning in it. So I will be narrating some of the anecdotes which you may or may not identify with.

2. I have met several engineers (who have done engineering from Indian colleges) over the years and irrespective of what college they come from or what branch of engineering they have done, all engineers seem to have similar life lessons revolving around similar subjects like alcohol, hostels, tech fests, fights among different groups and of course Girls. Girls, also because in a typical engineering batch of 100, there will be 2 girls only. This paucity of the females is more acute in mechanical and agricultural branches of engineering. The computer geeks have it good here as well.

3. I was the gold medalist of my batch, with highest OCPA ever till then. (I completed my engineering from College of Agricultural Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University.) In fact the second best in our batch was 10 percent points behind. Yes, academically, I was good. But mind it, I was no nerd. I was part of the coolest gang of my batch and we had loads of fun in those 4 years. But all that doesn't stop my batch mates from calling me one. They have always pulled my leg for being a topper, but in a good, fun way.

4. They say you keep learning throughout your life. True, but 90% of your life lessons, you learn in Engineering. If you are an engineer, you can survive anything. Any disaster. Physical, Mental or Emotional. You can manage with no resources and no girls ;-). You are no less than that resilient cockroach hidden under your bed / desk right now. Don't bother looking for it, as you can't do much. So read on.

So this post can be endless. There are so many incidents I can recall. So I will limit myself to some funny anecdotes I can remember right away. You will get the drift. May be I will come back to this subject some time again. May be in next year's A-Z Blogging challenge and add more such anecdotes to it.

Anecdotes below are not narrated in chronological order. Just in the order I remember.

1. I was very good in all the subjects. I have opened and assembled hundreds of tractors during my engineering and during my on job training at my first job. I was default topper in all subjects. But there was this one thing which I couldn't do. And that was driving a tractor in reverse in straight line. So when the tractor driving exam happened, I drove the tractor in reverse, but the line was not straight. It was not a line. When I was asked to back it up to hitch a disc plough on its hydraulics, I reversed it and straddled the disc plough with the tractor on concrete. I was the target of all jokes that day. Tractor driving is the only exam I have ever flunked in life. Life Lesson here is that Every Superman has his own Kryptonite.

2. Some of us engineers were part of Youth Parliament wherein students from all six colleges of the university used to come together to present in a contest at the end of the year. And the grand prize was visit to actual parliament in New Delhi and meeting a sitting MP as well. Well most of us engineers didn't join the forum for any grand reason. Our sole motive was to use this platform to interact with girls of other colleges. And sometimes dreams used to come true. I made some of my best friends there. I met one girl there who remained my girl friend for a long period. But I am digressing. So we won that year and we all went to Delhi. We were made to stay at IIT - Delhi. We were amazed at the campus. This was a destination, all of us had failed to reach and so we ended up doing engineering from lesser colleges. But if you ask me today, I think COAE, PAU suited me well. In hindsight, I will not change a thing. And, I am digressing again.

So the engineers decided to go out binge drinking that night on streets of Delhi. We went to a wine shop and around 6 of us finished one bottle in about 5 minutes, outside the shop. Then we sat in a dark garden hiding from everybody and finished another bottle using paper cups. We didn't have money to go to costlier places. We didn't have money to buy snacks. We had never gone to a five star hotel before. So after we got drunk, we hailed a cab and asked the driver to take us to a five star hotel. We went inside and peed. Then we went to another five star hotel and used its washroom. We were mighty impressed with the cleanliness. You need to visit our hostel toilets to know what I mean. So that night we got a kick by peeing in five star hotels. Today, it is common for us to stay in one every time we travel. Life Lesson here is that money doesn't buy you most memorable experiences.

3. Once our gang went to Mcleodgunj and Dharamshala for a trip. We didn't see much what tourists generally would, because we were busy drinking. A lot happened in those three days. But one thing which I clearly recall is that, after binge drinking for three days, when we returned to our base, the hostel, we had some money left. Everyone was hungry and due to vacations hostel mess was closed. So the question in front of us was whether to buy food with that spare money or drink more. Naturally we decided to buy another bottle of liquor. Life Lesson here is that food is nutrition for body, liquor is nutrition for deep friendships and soul.

As I mentioned above, I can narrate several such incidents. I think by taking theme for this challenge as anecdotes from life, I have opened a Pandora's box. How can this post be complete without talking about our experiences with our respective girl friends, or those college strikes, or those violent fights or that memorable educational trip (It was educational but not in the way intended by our professors) to Mumbai, Goa and Bangalore or those several other alcohol induced disasters etc. But that requires time, which we had a lot of during engineering. Now you can just remember those days, only as much as time permits.

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