The journey and the destination.

his is the article I wrote for the souvenior of my departmental reunion(with some corrections).

‘The destination does not matter as much as the journey’-Unknown

I don’t travel much. But the countless number of memories of a journey that began on 19th July, 2010 is sure to fill up several volumes of memoirs, not that anyone would buy it though.
As I walked through the hallowed gates of Jadavpur University, I was excited. I don’t know the way to my department. So I asked one student, “Which way is the department?” He replied, “Chol amar sathe”. I was skeptical for obvious reasons and lingered for a few moments. Realizing my hesitation, he turned back and said, “Aare chol amio ei department er”. The senior was Sayan Saha and though he is currently pursuing PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, we still talk atleast once a week. And thus began the journey.

From making a ‘pichkari’ out of distilled water bottles in the Chemistry lab, to breaking the “best burette in the lab” to faking fever to escape an outrageously boring mathematics class, first year marked the transformation. Probably one of the most hilarious moments was when someone threw my lunch box out of the fourth floor of my department and later replied, “Eita na korle amake 4 bochor pore ki kore mone rakhbi?”

I still remember the first class I bunked. It was a Wednesday on the third week after I joined JU. We bunked the class and went to Swabhumi. That was the first and the last time I ever made the mistake of going to Swabhumi(if you are in Kolkata for one day, you can strike this place off your list). Unfortunately when we returned, we got an earful from our seniors of how irresponsible and selfish we were in not attending the first football match of our freshers. Here cheering in the football field meant something quite different. And a victory meant celebrations that would extend to social networks. And a loss, well!

And twice a teacher walked out of our class exasperated with us. Thankfully, they didn’t complain to the HoD. No, I am not going to write about what we did. I am still a student. But you get the idea.
And the countless number of times when I, along with another conniving batch-mate, Ritwick Mukherjee, texted people in the middle of the night, “Results have been declared” and the choicest of abuses they hurled at us when they realized it was all a bloody hoax. And for the skeptics, we included random grade points along with the message to make it sound more convincing. Some now might say with a straight face, “I never fell for it.” Wish I saved those reply messages.

As a part of the organizing team member of Srijan 2011, we had to go for publicity campaigning in different colleges across Kolkata. Those were the days when I happily bunked the endless physics and chemistry classes to put up posters in colleges(who even checks the notice board in an age of social networks?) . We even had to go to classes and tell about the various workshops. I introduced myself as a 3rd year student!

But one of the things I surely am not going to miss is the canteen food. There is this joke about the canteen food,
– “How do you know you are not in the Matrix?”
-“Because then the food would have been definitely better.”
You can literally sew yourself a pair of nice trousers with the leather-like-rotis.
And while I enjoyed some things, there were things that turned out to be real pain in some parts of the human anatomy-for instance the long queues in the muster roll section for exam fees submission, paying the fine and things that are best left to evening “adda” as opposed to things that are published in the souvenior.

But then came 3rd year-the nightmare of any instrumentation student! Within one week into 3rd year classes, I realized what the rest of the year was going to be like. Monday to Saturday, 10:20am to 5:15pm classes. And with the habit of “class test kata” till right before the exams, it was a total disaster. We often had to give two class tests of the same subject on the same day. But I presume it was even worse for the class representatives who got calls from all of us to try and convince the teacher to reduce the syllabus. Regardless to say, it never worked and countless sleepless nights were spent in the period before semesters.

And then right after each semester, the solemn swear, ‘Next semester shob class test aage debo.’ It is startling how shamelessly we never followed it.

After a gap of two years we started having ISA seminars. Many students are now members of ISA(47 precisely). We had two seminars, one in Heritage Institute of Technology and another in Jadavpur University. The best part of it was when the student members were invited to the Hotel Hindusthan International for the annual ISA convention. Before that we only had read about flowmeters and analyzers, but for the first time we saw the products in the exhibition that was arranged as part of the convention. It was truly exciting to finally see the instruments right in front of us. The murmurs of “KM sir poriechilen na aager din”(I used to bunk a lot). to “DCP sir er boi te oita chilo” summarizes our excitement.

Somehow we survived ‘the’ 3rd year and we became the “senior most dada didis”. But there is a catch-we have placements. And then we also have our departmental reunion! Juggling between academics and placements, we started planning for the reunion. Since the next time we will be having reunion, it will also be the golden jubilee of the department, we knew we had to make it as big as possible so that it is simply fireworks next time!

The alumni database that was handed down to us was filled with serious errors and needed serious updating. Thanks to http://www.juresultdirectory.org we were able to atleast get the names of all the students that passed out in each year. And then we started doing a Google search on seniors with whom we have lost contact. We managed to get in touch with many of our alumni. One of the most prominent was Shyamal Bhattacharya, the CTO of PwC. We later used more intensive people search engines like http://www.pipl.com and http://www.linkedin.com .

In the previous reunion and in the reunion before that, there had always been talks of making a website for the department. It was no different this year. But one fine day, I and Sreeja Roy, decided “onek hoeche chol banie feli.” And thus, we bought a domain name http://www.ieeju.in and some server space and I began with the arduous task of creating a website from scratch. I am still working. The tricky part was deciding a subtle layout so that people return back to the website. My friends in IT helped a lot and I owe it one person in particular, Abhirup Bhabani, who helped me sort out all the troubles with server and other technical things(it wasn’t English, it was Greek!!) . Also Saurabh Animesh and Pranav Agarwal, both second year students of our department, helped immensely. They spent quite a few sleepless nights in the ‘Reconnect’ initiative.

Now I must stop writing because I have already got three calls from Sreeja all saying, “Bhai article ta patha re!! Chapate dite hobe.” But I will forever remember the four years as a student of JU not only for the exceptional teachers, but for all the experiences-from the exasperating instances when I felt like taking a plunge from the fifth floor to all the hours spent laughing at the jokes of Souradip Chakraborty and Kingshuk Banjerjee; I will miss it all!

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