This post is dedicated to all you wonderful people who made this one year special in Pilani.
Today, the 9th of August, we (read PGRPE) successfully complete one year of our stay in the remotest place any of us had visited-PILANI. Last year in May when I graduated from college as a proud Computer Engineer little did I know that I would have to choose between my 2 loves – Computers and Research. Finally my love for research got the better of me and as a result of an odd chain of events I secured an admission in one of the CSIR(Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) labs under the Post Graduate Research Programme in Engg(PGRPE). The dates for reporting in the campus were from 6th to 9th August,2010. After a lot of worst case scenario simulations my parents decided that it would be best to be in Pilani by 6th August since 7th and 8th were public holidays and we always assume the worst case would come true. So with a lot of apprehensions, anxieties and some hope I boarded the flight for Delhi accompanied by my mom and fiancé. The main reasons for my tension were :
1. I had no background in Electronics and the course for which I was selected was ‘ADVANCED Semiconductor Electronics” (life and its weird ways !!!)
2. I was the only female candidate who made it to the merit list in a class of 10..<sigh..>.
The course coordinator had sent instructions on how to reach Pilani from Delhi. Since we had no acquaintances in Delhi and Pilani was a 5 hour journey from the capital we decided to spend the night in the airport itself. That was a hell of a night without any sleep. The next day morning we reached the famous Kashmiri Gate Interstate Bus Terminal only to be “awed” by the filthy look it had. There was not even a single bus which looked boardable. We finally boarded the 9am bus to Pilani and the travel was tiresome on that hot and humid day. But then I got to see poverty for the first time in my life. Hailing from the state of Kerala which is famous for its uniform development, I had no idea that there were people really living in shacks all over the northern part of my country. I was under the impression that the slums of Mumbai and the like were just a minority. And on that day I realized that there could be advantages too to the socialist attitude that prevailed in my state.
We reached Pilani and got a room allotted in the guest house without much difficulty. The biggest attraction (and maybe the only attraction) here are the peacocks who roam about freely everywhere as if untouched by the human intrusion. Also I was surprised on seeing lots of trees. I was expecting those arid, dry deserts, sand dunes, women with pots of water and all those scenes which come to anyone’s mind when you think of Rajasthan. I was disappointed. I spotted even the first camel only after one or two weeks of stay here. <sigh.>
The weekend passed without much to do. Just roamed about in the BITS campus which is adjacent to our’s. Exchanged rings with my fiancé <blush>. Met my college friend in BITS and most of the time slept in my room. On 9th morning with lots of anxieties and hopes I reached the conference hall of our lab. There I found 10 new faces(none looked friendly or inviting). I still remember the only few people who even had the interest to talk to me. But all that changed as time passed by. We became best pals. But today I thank all the following people (names are not included) who made my day on 9th August 2010 [a] the one who gave me the first smile [b] one who gave me the first handshake [c] the one who lend me a pen when in need(though he did it with the weirdest of all expressions) [d] the ones who made me feel most welcome by saying they were hoping for a girl from Kerala to join to complete their group … and all others who made me feel at home in this far-off land.
The past one year has been the most eventful and hectic one in my life. Learnt a lot of new stuff– pn junctions, holes, electrons, transistors, optics, photonics, fields, waves, …….now the interesting part.. Cooking, maintaining a room, stay in hostel, roommate survival, “dealing”, surviving with boys all around and no female company,anxieties about the degree..…. Meanwhile I fractured my
leg, got my ATM card blocked for 4 months, bought a cycle which tortured me everyday, endured severe winter and summer , attended a live concert..and did so many more crazy things which I never thought I had the capability to do (thanks to all my dear brothers).. Pilani taught me a lot of lessons and gave a handful of awesome friends. As I complete one year of stay here I just want to tell you guys (classmates, batchmates and seniors(in seniors especially my ‘Di’s)) I love you all really a lot. You are the people who helped me survive through bad times and laughed with me during good times.. You are ones who stood with me through thick and thin.. You made my year soooo SPECIAL….