Life Lessons from a Mini-Excavator

For the last couple of months, I have been spending my time in West Virginia supervising a construction job. A big part of my responsibility here is to optimize and coordinate work between different contractors so that the overall project progresses efficiently. So I am continuously involved in assessing the resources available, the tasks to be accomplished, the sequence of those tasks, and how many (and which) people can be working at any given time – all to ensure that the overall schedule moves forward without any undue delays.

On one such day sometime last month, we had to accomplish a certain amount of excavation work and a certain amount of non-excavation work. But space constraints dictated that the large excavator that was scheduled to be used for the excavation work could not start the work until the contractor doing the non-excavation work got done with his task and got his men out of the way. The large excavator and the earth mover were on standby, waiting for the space to be cleared out for them to start working. This was clearly a waste of time and resources and I was looking for something – anything – that could help the situation.

I considered the mini-excavator sitting idly at a corner of the site. The amount of work that needed to be done was quite significant, which is why I wondered if the mini excavator would be able to contribute in any meaningful way. The size of the excavating bucket on the mini was minuscule compared to the size of the bucket on the large excavator. Not only that, even the power the bucket on the mini could apply on the hard soil paled in comparison to the large excavator. Generally speaking, the mini excavator accomplished in an hour what the large excavator could possibly accomplish in less than 10 minutes. And with the large excavator seeming like it could start working at any point, I wondered about the utility of using the mini to do any work at all.


But like I said, I was looking for something – anything – to help with the situation. So I asked the excavating contractor to get the mini up and running. This was at about 11 AM. For the next 6-7 hours, I watched the non-excavation crew continue to ‘complete’ their job, while the large excavator continued to be on standby. And all this time, the mini excavator plowed on the dirt with its small bucket and far inferior power. It kept digging as much as it possibly could, only pausing to refuel at one point. Nobody initially seemed to care much for the work that was being accomplished by the mini. It was only around 4 PM or so that we all started to notice the significant amount of area that the mini had excavated out. And by the time we stopped work for the day at about 6 in the evening, the mini had accomplished way more than what we had expected it to.

It was a moment of pure inspiration. “That right there is the perfect analogy for anything and everything you are trying to accomplish in your life,” I told my co-worker. Indeed, there were so many lessons to be learnt from just watching that mini excavator work. All it was was a small amount of work done continuously and without worrying much about the overall progress or the general expectations. It was work that was done not waiting for the perfect time to arrive when all conditions would be conducive for the work to be done. And it was work done knowing that the resources available at its disposal may not be all of what was needed to accomplish that task.

Most of these lessons may be well obvious and familiar to the point of being a cliche. But that doesn’t make them any less true.

Take going to the gym for instance. Working out is possibly the number one new year resolution ever made, and is also the first that gets thrown out of the window. We put targets and expectations on ourselves before we even get started. We wait for the right time to come in our lives to even get started – after this project is done, after this trip, when I finish my course, etc, etc – and then promptly convince ourselves that it was not a realistic goal considering all the ‘commitments’ we already had going. Or we go to the extent of making excuses that we don’t have what we ‘need’ to start working out on a regular basis – I need to get the right shoes, my gym doesn’t have these specific classes at these specific times, there aren’t enough treadmills in my gym, etc.

The key, as the mini excavator clearly demonstrated, is to do something and keep doing it without worrying about the overall progress or expectations. The effort to optimize every single aspect of our lives is not at all worth it. I am guilty of it myself. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on simply doing something – anything – and keep doing it. So next time you find yourself unable to get yourself to the gym, or unable to make the effort in any task you want, just ask yourself one simple question:

What would the mini excavator do? 

The Stereotypical Dream

So I am having a good time here in Iowa. No no. It does not mean that I am having a good time BECAUSE I am in Iowa. I am just having a good time thats all. Actually, come to think of it, Iowa isn’t a bad place after all. There are many awesome places to see and things to do around it. Just nothing IN it. But I digress.

So I have a job here. And I have a car. And I have a new awesome camera. The immediate and implied consequences of those three facts are what I have been making the best use of. And as a result, I find that I am actually quite happy with my life now. Not needing to worry about money, having the means to travel around, meeting new people and spending good time with them, exploring a new hobby- everything seems to fall perfectly into place right now. And this got me thinking in a different direction altogether.

The good and happy position I find myself in right now is obviously not just restricted to me. Most of my friends with whom I did my undergrad are all similarly well settled in some job somewhere and are having an equally good time, if not better. Which made me ask the question:

What is it about my friends and I that has made it possible for us to be in this position in our lives?

Most of us are bright and smart. And where we are now must be partly attributed to that. Sure, we did make the cut in a few examinations or get admissions to some good foreign universities. But these are not really the sole factors which helped us to get where we are now. What I am trying to get my head around is the very system that facilitates this process.

The one common fact that I observe is the most obvious one. All of us started off in Engineering courses. After we finished our Bachelors in Engineering, we either eventually landed up in some management institute of repute or in some good university for Masters (in India or abroad). Subsequent to that, we found jobs and now we find ourselves in a good position. (Else, continue for a PhD if that is what is your calling.)

The thing that strikes me the most in that process is its ease and convenience. It is almost like there is a perfect flow chart laid out in front of those who study Engineering in India. Follow that flow chart where the primary variables are your effort, intelligence, desire and interest, and you are very likely to come out of the process successful. (Successful may mean more money to you. To your parents, it may mean that it is now easier to find you a suitable bride. If you are a Gult, it means your ‘value’ increases. The last two are for men, obviously. But I digress.)

My point is that in India, as long as you are not dumb, you have a good level of interest and are ready to put in the required effort, you are very likely to get to the position I am talking about  – if you are an Engineering student. I am saying that being an engineering student facilitates and/or expedites our journey through the above process. That there are extra advantages to studying Engineering that will help one come out to be financially successful. And I am also saying that not many other disciplines can claim the same.

Maybe it is because of a lack of people I know who have taken up other disciplines that I am unable to arrive at a different conclusion. But simply put, it is a whole lot more difficult for people in disciplines other than engineering to be financially successful to the same degree as their engineering counterparts.

And I do not say that with pride or happiness.

For I myself was a victim of getting brain washed into joining Engineering when my heart lay in pure science. That I eventually found a topic which got me interested and excited equally is what I consider extremely fortunate. But for those who chose to pursue their true interests (when it wasn’t engineering that is), I find it extremely disappointing that they have to tread a much harder AND longer path to be financially successful to the same degree as their engineering counterparts.

At this point, let me make it clear that I am not going to discuss about ‘true satisfaction’ in ‘doing what you really like’ and where your ‘heart lies’ etc. True, people choosing to pursue their interests in different disciplines will probably be more happy studying it. But here, I am only comparing  tangible parameters, and specifically financial success. ‘True satisfaction’ and such are subjective ideas and they warrant a different treatment.

People from other disciplines have to study longer, work longer and make decisions filled with a lot more uncertainty before they reach the same level of financial stability and success as we engineering folks do. (And by that time they are likely to be married so it will not count anyway!) I personally find this very discouraging and destructive.

In a society where we require specialists in all fields, this kind of a glaring contrast in the different options available for students to choose their area of specialization is definitely counter-productive. But fact still remains that engineering is indeed the easiest way to get to where you want to go. And though most of the other disciplines do offer ways to get there, you have to almost always tread a harder, longer and more uncertain path.

Make no mistake. I am by no means trying to suggest that Engineering is THE SHIT and that everyone needs to take up Engineering to be successful financially (as if thats not already happening). In fact, I secretly pray everyday (I don’t know to whom though) that people (mainly parents) come to their senses and encourage young students to study their discipline of interest. But the wide gap that presents itself saying Engineering-is-the-easier-way-than-what-you-want-to-study does not help matters. Of course, the way to narrow the gap is not to make the engineering path less easy or convenient, but to make the paths of all other disciplines free of hurdles and unnecessary social stigma.

Which eventually brings me to the title of this post. The Stereotypical Dream. It is a dream every guy has and cannot really deny. Financial freedom and being in a place where there are a lot of things to do and places to see. It is also a dream that every parent has of their children too. And engineering seems to be the only quick, easy and assured way to realize it. Sad but true.

PS: This post is not my attempt at a  “In your face Manu Joseph” response. Yes. I read that article and found it amusing to say the least. It is not even worth linking to.

Strawberry Field 2008 Finals: A Review

This post would never have been written but Times of India, India’s most redundant newspaper has really compelled me to get my ass down to write a non-redundant post after a long time. Here is what happened:

I had been to the Finals of Strawberry Fields 2008 organized by National Law School yesterday evening along with my eager cousin who had never seen a live performance before. I had assured him that this was going to be worth it as Strawberry Fields was widely considered as the best Rock competition among semi-pro bands in India. Now let me put it this way.  The event took place. I came back. Today evening I get hold of TOI just to see the coverage of the show (oh and for all of you who didnt know, TOI was the main sponsor for SF 08). I go through the almost full page article. And I almost died of laughing my ass out! The nimrod, whoever it was, had probably written the most optimistic and politically correct review of any rock show that has ever taken place! Let me explain in detail now. But first let me give you my own brief review of the evening.

First finalist to take stage were BLOOD  AND IRON.  Their songs were mainly melodic metal with very evident influences of Bodom. The songs had a good rhythm and they were actually able to inject melody into all their originals. The lead guitarist was just awesome with the first lead he played but thereafter the leads became a little arbit.  They kept belting out heavy numbers with the Keyboard dude easily stealing the show. They ended with ANARCHY, which was really worth listening to. The band as a whole also had a prominent stage presence in spite of the heavy rain that lashed during their time. I may not be a sound technical guy in music but I kept feeling that they sound more and more like Bodom. A little more originial sound is definitely possible with these guys. Looking forward to more from this band.

Next up were ROSEMARY. Ok here is the thing again. I may not be a great technical music guy but I know enough music to figure out when a singer is singing on a different key with respect to the rest of the instruments. This was a glaring example and in addition to that, the vocalist as such didn’t have much of a smooth and controlled voice. Now let me get straight to the end and reveal that this band actually won SF 08. Even then, I still maintain that, apart from the bass and the bass-drum co-ordination, there wasn’t much in their originals. And their first song had very significant sounds of Audioslave like music with their next  songs sounding like Tool covers (or were they indeed Tool covers??). Somewhere further down, they switched to some kind of New age Pop/Rock and even went on to sound like John Mayer. Seriously, I am not joking! But I wil take nothing away from them in the way they covered Come Together by The Beatles. They played that one track awesome. But the rest of the time, it might have as well been some band playing backstage as these guys had absolutely no damn stage presence whatsoever. I mean I don’t remember anyone introducing the band. The guy  came on stage and just started playing! Not one word uttered to the audience apart from “This next song is called …..” And rightly so, the crowd very effectively conveyed their intentions and desires with some single fingered gestures and F-word filled phrases! But seriously speaking, the band had like zero performance value. I am not ignorant to say they are no good or anything like that. The parts when the vocalist wasn’t singing sounded very much like Tool and it sounded good. But they were all short lived. The bass was indeed good with the bassist winning the Best Bassist of the evening. But I would really like to see some more controlled and in-tune vocals man…. Anyway, congrats on winning the SF 08.

Next up were Metal Messiah who, I felt, had the best vocalist among all the bands. The important thing about his vocals was that he made it look very easy. It was as if he was born with such a voice. The band played some very hard thrash metal songs with 1 or 2 covers as well. Push It was particularly well performed and again, the singer made it look so damn easy to get that gruff voice in a controlled manner. The band had a decent stage presence as well and all in all, they were good.

After this, Chilli Potato took stage and I remember them from their visit to my college Fest- Incident ’07 where they played and won. I remember they played well then but yesterday was real bad. There was this blatant lack of co-ordination between the band members and that manifested in not being able to make out when a song started and when it ended. In spite of that, the lead for the first song that they played was awesome and I suspect he played it on the Blues scale. And dude, was that a Les Paul that you had?? And if yes, was it a Gibson???(Say yes, say yes!!) Perhaps all my fellow NITKians will recall this band as the one that performed a Rock version of Raj Kumar’s cult hit IF YOU COME TODAY during INCI ’07!! They did perform it again last night too but I guess not all the guys in the crowd had heard the original. Dude, I would watch you play IF YOU COME TODAY any number of times, but please ring in some co-ordination and also make more (and definitely louder) use of your guitar(if it is indeed a Les Paul!)

Last band to perform was GREYSHACK and by this time, I was unsuccessfully hunting the stalls for some food. Though I didn’t listen to them with full attention, the thing that was most clear was the original sound that this band had. They had these real good listenable originals and played a memorable cover of Day Tripper by The Beatles. They also played a nice medley which included Purple Haze, Hush and a couple other songs. Like I said, I wasn’t paying full attention but I would love to see this band again.

So that was the way the Finalists turned out. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I see a chic in a white T-Shirt jumping around on the stage. Apparently she was part of a band called THE EXTRAMENTALISTS or something like that. And I immediately took a strong disliking to their music. The female singer was really over enthusiastic and was also clearly singing on a different key than the rest of the group. Their originals were unfortunately pretty bland and there wasn’t anything else to look for in the music anyway. But after a couple of forgettable songs, the vocalist chic came up with this real good rendition of Beautiful Stranger by Madonna. That was followed by the only original song that actually sounded decent. The keyboards were good and the chic’s voice was properly in tune this time. But when the chorus began, it again went out of harmony. The parts of the song other than the chorus were actually good and melodious but the chorus really needs some working. In the end, the vocalist chic made some rhetorical comments like “We love you Bangalore….You rocked…etc etc” The crowd was like “Yeah Bye B****!” I am not exaggerating here but telling you exactly what I heard from many quarters.

And finally it was time for PENTAGRAM to take stage, and guess what??? There was some “technical glitch”!! And that delayed the show for quite long which didn’t really go down well with the audience. But then eventually Vishal came up on stage and said ” We dont give a f***!” and started the show without any electronic stuff. Now frankly speaking, I am not a big fan of their electronic sound and so when he said there wont be any electronic music, I was real happy. Now there is this thing about Professional acts that really draws me to them. Irrespective of who it is and whether I like their music or not, it is always a treat to watch these professional acts perform live on stage. And I was not at all disappointed when Pentagram screamed into their songs. The sound itself was so damn different and clear cut. The instruments sounded a lot more clear individually yet were in perfect co-ordination and the Bass! My god the Bass was perhaps the best part of the entire performance. You realize that the Bass is there because each and every note is serving a purpose mainly because it has a purpose of being there! But the best song performance of the evening has to be Pentagram’s cover of Freddie Mercury’s Living on My Own. That song was awesome! His vocals were clear cut and it could have as well been Freddie himself singing on stage. But unfortunately Pentagram could not play long as our famed Bengaluru Police force warned the organizers of the dreaded 10 PM deadline! So they played one last sont- VOICE- and ended the show. Pentagram’s performance was by far the best deal in the entire show. I could have as well had my dinner and left to NLS at 9:45 PM and I would still have been in time to see their performance.

Now about the TOI nonsense, you can catch the entire dumb shit TOI article on SF here, here and here . Or you can read the entire nonsense here by changing the date to 24 Nov Monday 2008. But first, I have to warn you against the sudden optimism it is likely to create. Beware of that!

First thing, the dude who wrote the article could not make up his mind if it was a 1500 strong crowd or a 2000 strong crowd. One place he says 1500 and then suddenly shoots it to 2000. Not that I expected him to count exactly how many were there, it’s just that I expected some consistency in reporting.

Next up, this writer guy says, “As the rain ceased, the mood reached feverpitch, with the crowd cheering wildly to the performance!” And he was referring to ROSEMARY’s performance! Dude, do your ears and eyes work or is it that your brain can’t distinguish between ‘cheering wildly’ and asking the band to “f*** off!”? Or perhaps you mistook the middle finger to mean the same thing as the Sign of the Horns- yeah that makes sense!

And about the Pentagram performance, perhaps you forgot the frustrating delay before their show started and if you were present at the back, perhaps you also forgot some very relevant remarks shouted by one impatient fan in Kannada including:

1. Nin Akkan! Haadu shuru mado nan Magane!

2. Eh BODA!

3. Naale haadthyeno nan magane??!!?


“Pentagram simply thrilled the gathered fans with an unforgettable performance.”- yeah like a performance that lasted for 4-5 songs! Hey didn’t that last band GREYSHACK perform more songs??? Or that chic’s band- I think they sang more than Pentagram!

“Kartikeya Dar, a St Joseph’s student, said the band had exceeded all his expectations and was ‘simply fabulous”—– 5 songs???Thats it?? That exceeded your expectations???!!??? Dude are you depressed in life or something??

“It rounded off it performance with Voice and left the audience asking for an encore.”—  First, get your grammar right and then again, you conveniently forgot to mention the ‘Timely’ intervention of our Bengaluru police to stop the show. Encore… Yeah right!

“Earlier, Shruti Haasan and her band The Extramentals regaled the audience with a enthralling performance”—Dude, do you even know how to write in English? Didn’t you learn in kindergarten that the article used before a word starting with a vowel should be ‘an’ and not ‘a’?? And now exactly when did the meaning of REGALED change from ‘to entertain lavishly or agreeably’ to ‘Getting the crowd to chant F*** off continuously’???!!??

The band proved to be a strong act, and was a hit with the youngsters.”—- And all this time I thought people shouting “Yeah Bye B****!” was a sign of disapproval….

And here is the biggest blunder! Unbelievable really, considering the fact that TOI were the main sponsor for SF ’08! Basically, the 2nd page of TOI 24 Nov Monday edition had this huge photo of 2 guys with guitars-one with lead and other with bass. Now I don’t know about you, but I would really make sure I get the caption right in such big photos. But apparently this dude didn’t bother! He put up a pic of Chilli Potato and in the caption, he has boldly written “Metal Messiah, one of the finalists, performs at The Times of India-Strawberry Fields 2008 on Sunday”!!!!!???!!!

Ah Man! That sucks! More than for all the readers who now believe Chilli Potato is Metal Messiah, my heart really goes out to all the members of both Chilli Potato and Metal Messiah! What a screw up!!But again, what did you expect? This is after all, Times of India dude!

And I am so happy that I don’t subscribe to TOI. After all, TOI has the most number of hate communities and forums for an Indian newspaper on the Internet. It’s all not  for no reason you know….

Civil Branch Diary

Thanks to my good friend’s timely intervention, I had to remove the Civil Branch Diary post that I had put up a few weeks back. But now that the College Mag is out, I do not have any problems with putting up my Branch’s Diary for the 4 years that we have stayed here. This appeared in the college mag VITRUVIAN and was written largely by me with inputs from various sources. I thank all those people who came up with ideas for the Branch Diary.

One word of note: The Civil girls of my batch, like I had notified in my earlier post, really believed that they had the complete rights to write the Branch Diary. But of course, I was not giving anything to them! Not that I have anything against is just that I dont like them. Period. So you will hardly find much stuff commending the girls’ achievements in here. Some of the girls actually went to the extent of making fun of it. But now that they have a copy, I have just one thing to say:


Also of note is the fact that one of my earlier posts- Banality a.k.a Bollywood-also has found it’s way into VITRUVIAN with some minor editing, which I frankly found that it made the article better. So if you have a copy of the VITRU, then do read it or you can visit the link that I have given.

So anyway, here is a copy of the Civil Branch Diary that I wrote for VITRUVIAN.

Concrete Ideas

Four years is not exactly a long time. Especially, if you happen to be studying in the Civil Dept. But it was definitely long enough for a bunch of complete strangers to bond like concrete and forge friendships of steel.

First Year

The first year took off with us Civil junta being clubbed together with the Mining junta for the duration of the first year. The first few days largely consisted of teachers regularly subjecting us to repetitive hypnotic sessions, thereby firmly drilling into our heads, the fact that “NITK is a great Institute” and that “We have made the ‘correct’ decision of joining Civil or Mining.” After the initial ice breaking was over, Yadav was ‘elected’ the CR by the handful of the class junta who actually made the effort to wake up early on a Saturday morning and go all the way to cast their precious vote. Very soon, the junta visiting the gym found it to be a totally unnecessary act, as the weekly Drawing and Workshop hours successfully catered to the need for physical exercise. C Programming theory, as per the ‘SENIOR’ Faculty (who made it a point to regularly emphasize the ‘Senior’ part), was officially over in the second week! (Thank God for Yashwanth Kanetkar!) The Trical classes were renowned for their insight into life and its many mysteries – courtesy Punekar. Of more significance, however, were the extra-small question papers in the exams, conveniently followed by the single digit marks, distributed generously for the majority! (All Hail the Relative Grading System!) Julie topped (an act that would be repeated many more times) both the semesters with his high 9 pointers-with Som and Eshita right behind him.

Third Semester

The third semester kicked off with Pandey and Manish heading off to Mech and Chem respectively to seek greener pastures. (So much for all those hypnotic sessions!)Enter The New Guy- Tidke with all his extra experience. 42 (Yes it is indeed the answer to life, universe and everything!) – was the final number of misguided souls from all over the country and abroad making up the class junta for the rest of the years! Battery, as the new CR, took the solemn oath to make sure that more classes were cancelled and assignments postponed. Crrescendo saw Julie, Shreyas, Loki, Unmukt, Waheez, Ronsi, Sandy, Meghali and VJ –all making up the 2nd year dance team. From then on, the official dance team always unofficially comprised of Civil guys and IT gals. Meanwhile, Sasikumar, with Mechanics of Materials, went one step ahead in terms of low marks which saw the whole class get more zeros during the course than in their entire life. But rest assured! The grading system once again came to our rescue with the ‘cut-off’ for FF very conveniently fixed at -9! The tradition of utilizing the Survey Practice as an excuse to get a sneak-peak into the neighbouring Maximum Security Prison (read GB) continued, with guys with dumpy levels and cross staffs getting up, close and personal views of the GB gate and the forbidden territories within! The ‘educational’ class trip-courtesy Hari and Loki-to St. Mary’s Island to witness the rare ‘hexagonal rock formations’ ended up being the most fun-filled event in the semester, with almost the entire class turning up for the day long trip! (Oh, we did see those rock formations you know..) DVR’s chillax Geology classes coupled with the Mid-Sem=End Sem Geology question papers made the third semester a breeze. The semester wound up with Julie topping yet again.

Fourth Semester

Enter fourth semester. The class junta suddenly found themselves choked in pending assignments and projects. Endangered species included the junta who did the assignments by themselves, as a result of which Som, Julie, Prass and others suddenly became, everyone’s ‘Chaddi Dost’! The combination of Fluid Mechanics and BMD (not to be confused with the sacred concept of the Bending Moment Diagram!) proved to be not so ‘friendly’ after all with the entire class junta ‘accidentally’ (yes we still maintain it as coincidental!) mass bunking for the one and only time in all the 4 years! With the progress of the semester, the expectancy level of English in BMD’s classes seemed to depreciate at such an alarming rate that by the end of the semester, the class junta began to doubt their own grammar! Meanwhile SN provided the spark in the class with his exuberant lectures on Soil Mechanics. VG’s never ending list of projects kept everyone on their toes, what with VG doling out free advice (read ‘mandatory rules’) on how to write the project like a PhD thesis! BRJ’s Structural Analysis lectures were reminiscent of the hypnotic sessions in the first year while KSBN made a guest appearance to teach us a small part of Design. Geology lab exam suddenly increased the traffic to A1 Printers with extra demand for µ-Xeroxes! The semester ended up with Julie topping the class again (This is getting very boring!) making it 4 consecutive semesters at the top for him!

Arbit Civilian: Sir, the mid-sem was very easy. Everybody scored well!

SN (smiling): Wait till you see the technical quiz…

(After technical quiz…)

Arbit Civilian: Show some mercy…Show some mercy!

Fifth Semester

The fifth semester perhaps saw the best teachers around handling the courses for us throughout the semester. LN with Water Conveyance Systems, Sasikumar with Optimization, MCN with Analysis-II, AUR with his extra cool Highway and Traffic Engineering classes and SN back with Applied Soil Mech made the experience of attending classes a truly memorable one! On the other hand, the Management Theory classes successfully reminded us of why not all courses in a semester can be interesting. Drawing came back to haunt us again in the form of Building Drawing – this time under the jurisdiction of VG! One very unfortunate batch of class junta were destined to attend one more semester of BMD’s classes –this time for FM Lab! Yadav’s second term as CR saw him set new benchmarks when it came to the CR bunking classes which in turn made the junta aptly name him ‘Bunkit’! Meanwhile, NR, RoyaanD, Som, Shreyas, Nagarjun and Pras made waves at the Civil Fest NIRMAAN at BMSCE by winning the rolling trophy, competing against colleges from all over the country! And in the class, RoyaanD, Ram, Anil, Ostrich, Pammar, Mukki, Tidke, Ganolia, Mallu, Pammar, PVD and others had firmly established their positions in the class as the Lords of the Last Bench with some of them even making it into the official late-comers list. Concrete Technology saw the junta who had taken the elective set new records in mugging and reproducing extra-arbit facts in the exams. Finally there was a switch in pole position with Eshita on top, taking over from Julie for the first time!

Sixth Semester

The sixth semester saw a blend of courses ranging from the monologue-driven Environmental Engg to the monotonous Steel Design to the no-attendance-taken Water Resources and many more. NR decided to build his ‘foundations’ in M.Tech by taking up two PG electives, thus setting the stage for others to do the same in future semesters. Yaragal’s Steel Design dictation classes saw new records being set for writing down dictated problems (and their solution!) throughout the semester. MKN’s Water Resources saw a horde of Final Year junta taking up the course- thanks largely due to MKN’s no-attendance-taken policy coupled with the extra lenient exam invigilation and generous grades. The official Last Benchers added one more dimension to their Association by judiciously utilizing the back-door of the Seminar Hall during Environmental classes (strictly for Emergency EXIT purposes only!). Meanwhile, Yadav worked extremely hard to come up with a pink gay-looking Branch T-Shirt which prompted the class junta to boycott wearing it under any circumstances. The low attendance in the classes was more than made up by the increased attendance of some of the class junta at the local bars with Ostrich, RoyaanD, Anil and other fellow Last Benchers leading the way. Nagarjun and Battery were elected PCs for a very hectic Placement Schedule that was due to come up soon. Chotu belted GATE with a cool double digit rank! Eshita continued her reign at the top by topping in the sixth semester as well.

Seventh Semester

The advent of Final Year suddenly saw a clear transition in terms of many things including number of class hours, attendance (both at bars and classes) along with the role of the CR! PvD was elected the CR amidst a heated race for the union elections and immediately raised the benchmark set by Yadav with regard to bunking classes! Swarna was subsequently elected the GB Mata by all the inmates of the neighbouring Maximum Security Prison. Julie, Ganolia, Tidke, Shreyas & Unmukt suddenly found themselves being addressed as Con or Joint Con of various clubs. Meanwhile the Placement scene was teeming with frenzy, with almost everyone getting placed in a myriad of companies. Soumya and Vineet headed the pay scale by getting into Exeter and Oracle respectively. For the first time, Core companies actually faced a problem of choice with a Civil company offering the highest package in the college this time. Placements also served as a very valid excuse to bunk more classes in an already class-starved timetable! NR and Jasim went on to win the Rolling Trophy at BMSCE for the second time in succession along with a group of juniors. Yaragal returned with one more semester of Dictation for Estimation and Costing. On the other hand, the highlight of the semester were the inspirational lectures on Structural Design and Drawing by KSBN & MCN followed by the torturous drawing sessions (in the rooms). The Drawing classes were truly engrossing with KSBN’s impeccable concepts and style of teaching, coupled with his frequent references to all the things that ‘Keshava’ CAN do! Come to think of it, is there anything that ‘Keshava’ CANNOT do??!!? The ‘light and glass’ tracing apparatus in 8th block became the most demanded thing on Thursday afternoons. The sight of all the junta walking to the drawing hall for the end sem, with their boards and drafters, reminded all of a herd of sheep heading to the slaughterhouse! The semester culminated with Som belting all the subjects and becoming the first 10-pointer in the class!

Eighth Semester

Boredom and inactivity reached new heights with most of the junta having a maximum of 3 hours of classes every week- thanks largely to AUR’s 4 hours-for-the-semester Transportation Studio! PG electives became the order of the day with most of the guys taking up M.Tech courses. Civil Engg became the only branch in the batch to hit 100% placement! Civil Events @ ENGINEER’08 saw widespread participation from various colleges- thanks largely to the untiring efforts of NR, Loki, Naga and Shreyas. Driven by boredom, jobless junta resorted to prank calls to kill the time. Major Projects remained very much in a latent state for most of the semester with almost everyone getting into action only after the deadlines were announced! Naga, having slogged for CAT, made all the Civil guys proud by receiving all 6 calls from the IIMs! Chotu improved upon his previous attempt and went on to bag the 22nd rank in GATE. Som , RoyaanD, Battery & Shreyas made it into big name universities like UMich, Virginia Tech, Maryland etc., with more admits well in sight! Civil farewell saw each member of the female population of the batch shed light on the on-campus mystery as to why all the Civil GB inmates were a cult-both in and out of GB!

All said and done, that was just the tip of the iceberg. It will take a lot more to write about all the fun and frolic that we have been through in these 4 years. 4 years, where we met some of the best people, the Masters in their field and drew inspirations from them. And wherever we may go, whatever we may do, we will always remain ‘The Civil Junta’ from NITK Suratkal!

So that was my branch diary. If you were in the Civil Batch of 04-08, then you will know who is who. And of course, I am NR in the diary.

Post-ENGINEER’08 Disorder…

Now don’t get me wrong. ENGINEER’08 went on damn well! Even the Civil Events@ENIGNEER’08 got commendable participation from out station teams. But this post is not about how the Tech fest of my college went. You will find more details about that shortly in the Civil Events Blog. This post is about the aftermaths of the fest. Immediately after the fest got over, there was this sudden change in tempo, phone calls and activity that was too drastic for me to handle. So let me shed some more light on that now….

The event got over on Sunday (17th) night. During those 4 days prior to the Sunday, I was on my toes every single minute of the day. I, being the Convener of all Civil Events, was held responsible for anything and everything that happened. So if anyone needed anything, the only person to be contacted was me. If anybody had anything to complain about, that would very conveniently be directed towards me. So long story cut short, I was being contacted for virtually each and everything. In the span of 4 days, I must have easily gotten about 400-500 calls! My bloody phone never stopped ringing! Probably it was trying to make up for all those years that it let me down by making me run out of battery every 7-8 hours! It was totally unprecedented.

But the phone calls was just one aspect. The physical and mental anguish, coupled with the time crunch was something of a new experience to me which I was glad to go through. Handling people, doing night-outs after working like a donkey throughout the day and spending from my own pocket, the money which I knew I was not getting back-well they all  taught me so much in such small time. Like I said, I was just glad to go through all that.

But once ENGINEER got over, it was a totally different story. The only phone calls I got were from my mom enquiring about how the fest went (and of course about the state of my hunger). The only work I had was to sleep and watch Everybody Loves Raymond. The only people I had to handle were my 4 close friends when we got totally drunk in the hostel and went around the campus at 2 in the night talking arbit nonsense which included an inebriated enquiry into the smallest time interval between each of ours’ peeing sessions! So you see, there has been a drastic change in the world around me. I suddenly find myself utterly jobless, with no one contacting me (nothing unfamiliar about THAT!) and with money to waste on alcohol! I FEEL LOST!

Frankly speaking, I really feel like working now. I just don’t know how all of a sudden things can get so lax. Well, let’s not forget that the college cultural fest-INCIDENT’08 is around the corner. And I plan to enjoy each and every moment of it, what with this being my final INCI! I am looking forward to that.

Also of interest is the branch diary-a satirical view of the 4 years at NITK- that we (CIVIL BATCHMATES) have to write for the college mag. I am taking an active interest in writing in it, what with all my ‘experience’ in writing and analyzing! The girls of my class suddenly come up with this ‘agreement’ that apparently took place 2-3 years back when they were given complete power to write the branch diary 2-3 years later! Insane as it may seem, well, after all, they are all girls! And they are not getting anything! But rest assured. We guys shall make a sincere effort to compile the best branch diary written so far! And I shall be putting it up here for all to see.

Much more to say and discuss-SERIOUSLY! But all that in my next post. So till then…….


Feels Good…..

It has been over 5 years since I last felt like this. And 5 years is a long time. All this while, it has been a painful experience watching the whole action from the sidelines and constantly realizing that I could have done a much better job. A lack of identity in one of the crucial facets of an engineering college cost me a lot throughout. It is probably something that I will always regret. But not anymore…

After an agonizing wait, I am finally where I belong. And I am happy.  I may have probably been out of touch. But I still found myself doing useful work. And it wasn’t long before I got what I needed. And it was a pleasant surprise indeed. And ever since, it feels different.

It feels good to be in control…..truly in control.

Civil Events @ ENGINEER’08

This is my blog and so I decided to carry out the most useless form of publicity for the Civil Engineering events at  my college Technical Fest ENGINEER’08 from Feb 14-17(Oh ya BTW, my college is NITK Surathkal). Useless-evidently for the fact that my blog traffic is hardly anything worth mentioning. And so no harm in informing the whole world through this innocuous medium. I am organizing the Civil Engineering Events in the fest and I would really appreciate it if you (whomsoever’s spirit you maybe) could just get your esteemed self to witness and participate in the events of my branch. There are a whole load of them. And if you are not of my branch, well come anyway(and you may get along a friend who is in Civil Engineering). There are a whole load of things to do and see here. Really…..I am not joking! You gotta trust me on this!

Hey look, I am not getting paid or anything to do this publicity here. I  just thought- Well, here I am putting in so much effort to make this event a success with truckloads of prize money and so it would be nice if you could come along and have fun and enjoy the whole experience.  Do you see it? Its a win-win situation here! You get the prize money and the experience and then we are also happy that you participated and won. Hey did I forget to mention our college is the only college in India to have its own private beach? Thats right. So don’t miss out on this opportunity man.

And as a true organizer, I shall now give out my mobile number for the whole world to see and misuse:

Akshay.N.R:9886762406. So now you can call me anytime and talk nonsense. But I would also like for you to enquire about the fest-Civil Events in particular.

Also my mail ID with which you may send all your banal forwards which I promise I will never get tired deleting as long as you have something to ask about the fest in it.


Thank You. Thank you

Now with this, I shall conclude my completely ineffective publicity, lest I cause more harm than help…….