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Those engineering days

Books are great company when you have continuous classes. No Sundays, no Deepavali. This week, I had “The IITians” and “Tuesdays with Morrie” to supplement the lectures. Both were quick reads. Sandipan Deb, the editor of Outlook Money and an alumnus of IIT, Kharagpur, writes the former. You can find an extract here. It is about the success of the IITs, talks about brain drain and how the IITs have changed the image of Indians single-handedly. IITians are the pride of the nation and I envy any IITian unthinkingly.

Sandipan starts with describing the fierce competition that takes place before entering the hallowed portals of the institute and ponders over the mushrooming coaching cities like Kota and many Andhra towns. Experiences of successful IIT alumni (mostly in the US) like Rajat Gupta, Saurabh Srivastava, Nandan Nilekani and former IIT directors like Prof. P.V. Indiresan are featured in the first half. One calls the IITs the Indian Institutes of Education. Many feel that the learning outside the class is the most precious of all the experiences. The passion they develop and the camraderie they share are life-changing. It is interesting to note that the 5.5 to 7.5 pointers are the ones who have usually made it big in life. But all these successful ones balanced academics and other activities very well. For instance, Nandan’s batch started the famous Mood Indigo festival of IIT Bombay. Also featured in the book are the reasons behind why these brilliant students from the highly subsidised institutes quit technology and pursue a wide range of careers, just like the author himself.

He also writes about the weirdos, the well-fought inter-hostel games and literary events, the few females that end up in these elite institutions, the attention they get (he ended up marrying his junior), the failures that can’t stand the stress early, the not-so-famous IITians who have contributed in their own little ways and the differences among the students that make up a great life. He talks about the new rules that force you not to have loud music by 10pm and return to campus by 9pm,… Censorship is definitely the order of the day prevailing in a lot of educational institutions. He even wonders if the jealous teachers, by these gestures, seem to say that in campus, they are the all-powerful authorities. The anecdotes he shares make for interesting reading. He concludes that the most important thing an IITian is the confidence that he can do anything once he completes his course successfully and the total loss of fear he gains(sic). Any engineering student could relate a lot to the events described. I was magically transported to those wonder days of engineering, where my confusion started. I liked the book a lot. It sums up everything about life before, in and after an engineering college.

The other book, Tuesdays with Morrie, is a nice book focusing on the key things in life like love, friends, family, marriage, … proudly proclaiming itself to be Life’s Greatest Lesson. After Sophie’s World, no philosophical book has made a profound effect on me. Americans love books which profess to be true tales of wisdom, talk about love and care. Indians are slowing moving to this genre. “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” is the adage of the dying teacher. My neighbour had brought it to class and told me it was a gift from her sister. For most people, this would be an excellent book. But, when you have met Sophie, your standards for such books goes up and so this just gets a so-so rating. You also will definitely appreciate life better.

 PS: I await one of my grades for the last term. Once that is out, I shall put my progress card for the last month.

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Categories: Books
  1. gopi
    5 November 2005 at 10:28 am

    http://www.baen.com/library/defaultTitles.htm
    Have that link buddy. But I am not sure whether you can read weird books like ‘Sophie’s World’ in that website. Also pardon me if you have seen that link already.

  2. Me
    6 November 2005 at 7:29 am

    whenever i come to ur blog am all excited about reading books…and then after a while everything dies down….am planning to checkout Sophie’s World tomorrow……lets see how it goes…

  3. Me
    7 November 2005 at 2:04 am

    i thot i posted a comment here..:o

  4. 8 November 2005 at 8:26 pm

    me, did you check out sophie’s world? tell me one book you liked so much.

  1. 18 October 2008 at 8:17 pm

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