Saturday, August 28, 2004

Written 11th July, 2004

3:30 pm

Just returned after watching Harry Potter III. This time, had gone with family.

Tomorrow, have to return to Kharagpur. Returning early in order to do some project work. Final year to begin in one more week.

I had invitations from Professor's home (a friend) for lunch and also from Vatika for a meet-up. Turned both down so as to spend some time at home and avoid eating the lunch outside.

Seems it was a good decision. Did some packing, called up a few friends (including a nice chat with Pamela), had a nice lunch. And finally went for the movie. (Kakima, didi and Vatika – please do not get angry).

There was this scene in Harry Potter III where Harry rides a giant bird. He flies high into the skies and then swoops down. The effect on Harry, as is made obvious by his expressions, is one of total thrill. Somehow while watching this scene, I too could feel the thrill within me. It was a sense of freedom, of joy – like a surge of happiness rushing through your body.

I read this short story the other day (in a book called ‘Favourite Indian Short Stories’ compiled by Khushwant Singh and another famous Indian author). It was about a young mother. She was returning home by train along with her husband and three children. The story was about her life – how the responsibilities of early marriage and early motherhood had become a burden for her and how she longed for the love of her constantly rebuking husband.

It was about her desire to be more than just a machine fulfilling the needs and desires of her husband and children.

In the end she wanted to break free. Free from all the shackles that held her down and had led to a premature end of her childhood.

That scene from Harry Potter would have made her squeal with delight. There was an unmistakable sense of freedom associated with that scene. A taste that many of us have forgotten and many not acquainted with at all. I am lucky to have got that taste on numerous occasions.

(Today was one such day - a sunny Sunday spent with my loving parents.)

PS: Cinema has a mass appeal which books do not have. After all, two people can watch a movie together. But they can never read a book sitting side by side.

However you cannot choose one over the other. In the end, there are just too many good things in the world and too less time to experience them.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A 'Campus Placement'

On some of my visits to the north wing toilet in our institute I noticed a man sitting in a makeshift closet beside it. I wondered how a person could continue sitting there for the whole day every day. The toilet had just been renovated and so it did not stink. However the thought of having to sit beside a toilet without anything to look at except bare walls convinced me that this job was a highly depressing one.

During the ongoing process of campus placement in our institute, I have had to visit that particular toilet quite often. (Not very surprising, that.) I kept bumping into that fellow a number of times. I noticed, to my surprise, that there was always a smile on his face. On asking him I also found out that his job was to regularly clean the toilet. He had to do it a number of times in the day and saw to it that the toilet was spick and span. True to his words, the toilet was always superbly maintained.

I observed that that when this fellow told me of his duty, there was an unmistakable sense of pride in him. I tried later to rationalise that he was mentally unstable and that people had given him this 'lowly' job out of charity. And assuming him having retarded faculties to be true, he was thus happy with even such a job.

I recently applied for a position in a company that sells cigarettes. (No prizes for guessing the company correctly.) While preparing for the interview I was wondering how it would feel to sell cigarettes and be totally against their consumption at the same time. I wonder now that if I had got the job, would I be able to speak as proudly about it as that fellow in the toilet.

It is surprising how one can be totally content with one's job while another cannot. The crux of the matter lies in the fact that one must be happy with what he does. And that one must do his job to the utmost perfection

I hope that when I get a job, I shall not have to envy that fellow in the toilet.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Behind Every Closed Door

IIT Kharagpur was my first taste of hostel life. I have always liked to interact with people. For the first few months I used to roam a lot regarding some activity or the other. Through this I got to meet lots of people. There were a large number of boys in my first year hostel. The sheer variety of cultures, economic backgrounds, behavioural patterns that I got to experience by interacting with them was amazing.

Three years have passed. Yet the people here continue to fascinate me with their stories or just by their personalities. All this gives me an idea. What if I went to each and every room in IIT Kharagpur, interacted with its occupant, observed him and his room and got to know his feelings, his ideas, his emotions. What a wonderful achievement that would be.

Experience has made me wiser. Let alone the whole college it is impossible to know the inhabitants of one whole hostel. The deterring factors are many - personal ambitions, academic and social obligations, time constraints and the magnitude of numbers involved.

Sometimes this reminds you just how insignificant one is in the greater scheme of things. Since the inception of IIT Kgp, about fifty people have lived in the room I am presently occupying. Fifty hall presidents have presided over GBM-s in Patel Hall and an even greater number of people (like myself) have contested elections unsuccessfully for the coveted post. For quite a few decades now the department of Electronics & Electrical Communication Engineering has been grinding out engineers just like me. Many of them must have had the same queries at this stage of their lives as I am now having. Several thousands of young minds, in the course of these many years, must have travelled down Scholar's Avenue thinking some thought or the other. What were they thinking? Shall I ever know?

It is just like reading books. You can never complete reading all the books in the world, however much you may want to. You should consider yourself lucky if you have come across a few good books that you will remember all your life. Similarly it is through some select friends that you get a sneak-peek into this vast multitude of thoughts. I consider myself quite lucky to have got friends as I have...... but more about that later. posted by Kriti Sen Sharma on 09:06 AM 1 Comment