Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Divine Wisdom

It is the third day of my college life and I, along with my thirty batchmates, sit in the mechanical workshop. Theoretically, it is a place which is supposed to be a temple for every Mechanical engineering student. Practically, it is a viable alternative to a gymnasium (Try cutting a cast iron strip with a high-speed steel hacksaw and you will know). I look at the clich├ęs that surround me. Lathe machines, shapers, drill machines, press machines, milling machines, vices, medieval tools, modern tools, hammers, and a lot more.

Until now, I am pure. Pristine. Innocent. I haven’t been ragged, nor have I abused any professor yet. I talk about percentage in class twelve. I talk about AIEEE rank. I still have faith in studies.

My head is a turmoil, though. The depiction of a college in Bollywood movies revolves in my head. It assures me. I am a hero and no matter how absurdly I behave, I am going to get the girl. One I have seen earlier this morning. She is in my dreams now. Her hair spread over the shoulders of her sleeveless rose-colored top. A small clip barely holds them together. Her eyes beautifully bordered. Oval face deforms as she smiles. Her hair dance as she walks, covering her eyes sometimes. Removing one of those evil strands before her eyes, she looks at me and I look at her. Yes! She is the one. She is my dream-girl and if she ever needed to go to a beauty parlor, a majority of us should start living there.

However, it all shatters the moment I see my roommates talking of her. One more example of Bollywood movies failing at the school of reality. They show if there were more than one heroes, they would always fall for different girls but in reality, every guy (including neighboring colleges) falls for the same damn girl and that too at a speed thousand times faster than the girl would fall for any of them. Maybe she does not fall for any of them because she is already engaged to an NRI. (Ask me!)

In my thoughts, I forget what is beside me - metal and stones. My eyes throb of the peril as he enters the class. A shorter, darker and fatter man in a white Safari-suit. His eyes red. A heavy mustache covers his face from east to west. His voice the grunt of a lion, hard and assertive. He looks at us, lambs in human skin.  He tells us a lot about Mechanical Engineering. Fortunately, I no longer remember the larger part of it, except this – “Seven minutes! Seven minutes are all I need to make you a Mechanical Engineer. Welding in three minutes, lathe in one minute, casting in two minutes. Rest you already know!"

And the democracy ends here. We have no say in what we know and what we don't know. The dictator has decided the same for all of us. Our fate is punched on a mild steel strip.

“So," He snorts. "Now I want to take your words on how to drill a hole on a workpiece. Come into my room one by one,” He says in his thick voice.

Unfortunately, the first name is mine:

“So, dear son, tell me what do u think?”
“Sir,” I reply, stuttering. “First we will take a workpiece, put it in front of a drill machine...”

hat majdoor kahi ka," He roars. "Ye to majdoor ka kam h. tu to engineer h. What has happened to this generation? Where are the brains?” He roars again. His face feigns the pain of desolating standard of Engineering students. 

His pain digs into the heart of every other student. Many of them are ready to flee as soon as they hear it. None has the power. None has the courage. They have taken the admission but they are not the engineers yet. Not until they feel that, it is okay to bunk the class. It is okay to abuse the professor. It is okay to copy an assignment. It is okay to have nothing to say in vivas. It is okay to scan a girl until she proclaims you a pervert. Yes! This is the price to pay. Forfeit the idea of shame and discipline and you will rise as an Engineer.

One by one, each student walks into to maelstrom and one by one they all feel the heat.  The professor repeats the same words to every student as if it is a mantra. At last, when all the self-respect is shattered and every face hangs like a withered rose,  he himself comes out of his nest and starts again, his voice a bit softer this time.

“Students,” He addresses us. “You are engineers. NIT students. are padho, fayda uthao iska, sabse badi problem hi ye hi ki tumhara dimag majdooron ki tarah chalta h. Now I will tell u how an engineer will work. He will take a scale and mark for the exact spot he wants to drill the hole at and  then he will hand it over to the labor to drill a hole," He pauses and spreads his arms like a magician. "And that is the way an engineer works!” He closes his eyes. 

By the look on his face, I feel it is his best performance ever. His face glimmers with satisfaction. Our faces shimmer with an awe as if we have found some kind of divine enlightenment. He raises high among our eyes. A perfect role model. Let us be like him. Let us learn from him. Let us be the greatest engineer ever lived!

Considering how it all went down in a few months and years to follow, it was no more than the excitement of a child who has seen an airplane for the first time. It is completely different now. It makes me doubt as to what have I become. 

Am I an engineer?

1 comment:

  1. Good imaginative description.but an abrupt ending..more expected....