So after the storm of Year1, a slight change is what is seen in the next year. By the way, did I forget to tell you about the bandh we had during our exams in Year 1 because Raj Kumar was kidnapped. That left us with just a few days off between year 1 and 2. Yeah! Things that happen!
Enter year 2 happened with half the class moving to their branch which was telecommunication, a few others who have moved on to take a branch change and few new faces who have moved into our branch from others. We also have a whole floor to ourselves in the building dedicated to Instrumentation, we have our own classrooms, department labs, HOD, lecturers and feel already quite an esteemed part of the process. Like a sense of cheap pride in belonging to something.
There was still the factor of 'unknown' as I stepped through this year. I was aware of most things with the course - the 6theory+ 2labs per semester, the concept of internals & externals, the library books being unavailable, the 30p Xerox notes. But with every new year, new challenges happened.
We had our own lecturers and each came with their specialty (on and off the classroom). With it came the 'favouritism' and I obviously did not stand out in any way as a student, which did not help. We either wrote notes all through the 1hr class or were distracted with the chain-smoker HOD holding the chalk-piece like a cigarette more than listening to him, or was trying not to laugh in the class of the lecturer who was Oh-so-delicate, or not move in the class of the hyper-alert-want-to-be-strict-lecturer, or try not to get caught in the foot-tapping-duster-banging-new-lecturer or try to understand what this lady-lecturer-who-dressed-like-a-housewife was doing here. (btw...learnt later that she was a gold medalist)
The labs at our department were a disaster. They looked like they had not been cared for in a long long time. We used to go in and spend almost 1/2 the allocated time in trying to find the components for the practicals in a big rubbish dump. Getting them to work was another story in itself. Don't know whether trying to understand the experiment was a bigger challenge or getting the components to work. To top that, we were divided into about 6-8 sub groups with 2 things working and we had to
request fight to borrow the components from who got hold of it first.
So, this whole episode introduced us to shopping with a completely different perspective. Commercial Street was replaced with SP Road, the plush shops of Brigade road was replaced with the electronic component shops on this SP Road, names like Adidas, Nike was changed to Vishal Electronics, Sangeetha electronics and a few others we frequented. Buying new books was never an option, so Avenue Road book shops and the road side pre-owned book stalls became our new best friend. It felt like I was running around like a headless chicken at times trying to get things rather than do something with them.
All this for joining a college which was termed a good one!
Having classes in the morning kept us free most afternoons and evenings which gave us ample time to do the fun stuff. In between the dreams of we-will-do-this-when-we-have-more-money, we enjoyed the various adda's (hangouts) in the college. The staircase on the 7th floor where we shared the home-brought-food, the katte's (stone benches) around trees, hanging out in the dirtiest canteen one could have been to, cheap pleasures of having samosas and kachories and tea/coffee from the stalls outside college, the many lunch-outs at the various restaurants in Gandhi Bazaar and nearby areas became an every day life. We did treat ourselves to a matinee show or two and of course the trips to brigade road, MGs & commercial street had it's own excitement.
Just stepping into the world of internet, we had our email accounts and played around sending each other one liners everyday. I remember having an account with chequemail.com which also sent me a cheque with Rs.50 for a month long use of emailing people. It seems like another world today.
Well...the 'studying' for exams would never have happened if not for the friends who helped do combined studies with me. Anyways... we only studied a few days before the exams and not otherwise. It became a norm. Oh! what fun it was doing those combined studies, I can't think of passing anything or 'understanding' anything in this year if not for the studying together. Occasionally enjoying movies on DVD for a break.
Semester 3 did end up being the nightmare I was dreading. I failed a lab. Well, let me not be humble and blame a few things - a combination of me-not-understanding-the-subject + the components-not-working + i-got-one-of-the-toughest-experiments did not help me complete what I had to in the allocated time. The viva-voce was no more than a Hmmmm + Aaaah + Not sure + I-don't-know-the-answer-to-this. Needless to say, I was totally shaken, I knew it the minute I finished the lab that this was not going to be a success. I broke down, cried like a baby with a friend beside me showing how a spring clip worked (See, Engineering all the way!), the way a spring clip bounces back in spite of being under pressure all the time. I think about this example even today when I am feeling crushed.
So, the end of the 3rd semester was a FCD which we had previously craved for (First Class with Distinction- anything above 70%) however what it really showed up on my marks card was a big fat FAIL. I don't have to mention what went through my dad's mind. The look he gave me when I announced my failure made me pray for the earth to suck me in. So, that was that.
Just when I want to leave it behind and start fresh in the 4th sem I had to go through the embarrassment in class when every lecturer makes it a point to parade the topper of the class and failures of the class and me being the latter! Those who had scored less than me were still ok as they had managed to pass everything. It left me thinking I had to show this lot that I am not a bad student. So, 4th semester went through with the usual nuances of the course but with the determination to prove something. I don't think I had felt this bad about anything I had done or this determined about anything I was about to do ever in my life.
Though with a bit of a chaos in planning the studies, the uncle (mentor) and cousin who had been through this course gave me all the books and notes they had which did come in handy. A K Sawhney's big fat book of Electrical and Electronic Measurements & Instrumentation became my new best friend. I joined Lab tuitions (eating more money from dad's pocket) to get through the 'failed' lab. This made it 6 theory + 3 labs for this semester. Again, the combined studies were a blessing and got me going.
It was the day of the results and everyone from class were pouncing on the little department window with mesh on it inside which read the outcome of what you were in the past 6 months. The hyper-I-need-to-witness-the-reaction-of-students-getting-their-result lecturer and the I-love-to-give-a-piece-of-my-mind-to-every-student-and-make-them-feel-guilty-for-having-a-good-time lecturer were there to announce that I had failed again. Thank God that this was just them not-being-able-to-read-the-results-in-a-single-row - you see the name and university ID number are on the left hand corner of the results sheet with Internal marks, External marks and Pass/Fail for each subject in the middle area (which is 8*3 - 24 columns of data) and to the far right hand corner is what shows the grand finale of pass/fail and the Class in which you passed (if you did). So.... I was dejected all over again until this friend of mine shook me up to say that I had not only passed with an FCD but my marks were the highest for the entire class. That I had come first! Well... as they say, there is a first time for everything.
What a mixed year that was. The first time I failed a subject and the first time I topped a class. I was happy, content and the heavy feeling I had carried with me for the 1/2 of the year was lifted but the sadness that I had failed stayed a little longer. The results of the lab came as a pass and I was relieved more than anything else.
My dad just did not believe it and the uncle (mentor) was surprised how that happened!
Well.... I know it has been a bit of a story so far...1/2 way through the course and need to sustain the other half of the journey but at this point I was saying thank you to everyone who helped me get up and quietly enjoyed the moment. I would like to thank each and every one who stayed by me and let me know that it was no big deal. After all, today it doesn't matter that I had failed or that I had topped.
Let me take a break from this.... Be back soon with 3 & 4. To be Continued.....