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May God Help Me - Farewell NITK

The NITK Chapter is officially closed. As Bangaloreans, we have had plenty of rants against college. But after the exodus dawns the epiphany that things weren't so miserable at NITK after all. Now that I'm back home, I've been able to see the very thin silver lining beneath those very, very dark clouds that made these past four years pretty rough.

The Department:

After a fairly successful series of exams(barring the JEE of course!), I landed up in a class of 73 other souls, who, like me, had screwed up just the one exam but had fared pretty well in the AIEEE and landed in the most sought-after branch in the most sought-after NIT, only behind the IITs and BITS Pilani. Although I felt from the curriculum book when I first looked at it that our courses were very well-structured, I must admit that quite a few of them were mostly rote-mugging courses sugar-coated to sound cool. The Department and Its Presiding Diety always kept us on our toes. Assignments, projects or those excruciating JeDi lab reports saw us run from floor to floor, lab to lab, burn ICs, switch from Matlab to NgSpice, from Windows to Linux and back and then back again to Windows (for CS, DoTA and WoW of course!). Exams, tests and quizzes, both surprise and announced, were, unfortunately for me, met with the same response from my great class - that of complete preparedness. Through these four years, I've seen a lot of my classmates transform from bookworms into, well, far bigger bookworms while the rest of us just photocopied their notes a couple of days before the endsems(for which I remain eternally grateful to the donors :P). But mind you, the ECE Class of 2010 was no ordinary class. The fact that our branch bagged the most admits from the IIMs and XLRI speaks not only of the people who got those admits but also of our Department, which opened many eyes who found their true calling elsewhere. The course also took a toll on quite a few students who promptly shifted loyalties from Mom's DSP to Mallya's DSP. But most of us stayed loyal to our subject, as was reflected in the many admits at prestigious US(UMD, USC, Columbia, ASU, UMass, etc.) and European(Ecole, Munich, etc.) universities, good GATE performance and placements in highly respected 'core' companies(Intel, NI, AD, TI, NVidia, Ittiam, Juniper to name a few).

Whether this roller-coaster academic ride has made me a good Electronics & Communication engineer or not, time will tell. These four years, our Department has taught us(apart from Electronics and Communication, that is!) the ubiquity of Matlab, the importance of A1 Prints and KST, good presentation skills, LaTeX, CTRL+C and CTRL+V but most importantly, teamwork and endurance. I hope to take with me all these lessons and skills. May God help me.

The location:

Surathkal, located 23km from Mangalore, along the  NH-17, is pretty much the run-of-the mill coastal town with its temples, sloped-roofed houses and the streets that perennially smell of fish. There are two seasons here - rain and no rain.  And when it rains in Surathkal, it pours. Like hell. And irrespective of the season, one will sweat in Surathkal. Like hell. Only in this aspect, being from Bangalore was disadvantageous in that I took quite some time to adjust to the hostile weather conditions. In the hostel, we've probably ranted about the weather atleast a million times. The location of NITK in this nondescript sleepy town has also been thoroughly questioned. But all the obvious negatives apart, I sometimes feel NITK is located at just the right distance from both the sea(less than a km!) and the mighty Western Ghats. This has allowed us easy access to Karnataka's(and some of India's) best beaches such as our very own NITK Beach, the lighthouse beach, Malpe, Marvanthe, Panambur, Kaup, Kota, Dhareshwar, Karwar, Murudeshwar, St.Mary's Island, and of course, the beaches of Gokarna. Add to this the mighty Sahyadri mountains to the West, whose few peaks we have scaled(Thadiyandamol, Kumara Parvata, Kodachadri, Kudremukh, Kemmangundi, etc.) and its innumerable waterfalls, few of which we have seen, most notably at Jog, Hebri(Sita Falls of course!), Hanumangundi, Sirimane, the waterfalls of Coorg, etc. That NITK is nestled in Nature's very lap more than makes up for the lack of cafes, malls, multiplexes or any general 'hangouts' in a 10-km radius. I personally loved the location of the campus, as it was utmost conducive to get out of!

I hope to keep returning to both the misty mountains and the sun-kissed sands time and again. May God help me.

The food:

The arachnids in 1st Block mess food(if you may call it food) were a grim reminder of what was to follow in the years to come food-wise. These four years, we've taken a lot of crap from a lot of places, but most of it was from our messes. But keeping aside all the negatives(yeah, all of them...tough task isn't it?), the lack of tasty edible food in the mess prompted us to explore all of Mangalore's and Surathkal's restaurants. Sads, Suraj, Pallkhi, Kudla, Aroma, Diesel Cafe, Amazon, Chutney, LL, Naivedyam, Delicios, Bon Bon's, Dinoo's, Pizza Hut, FOT, Domino's, Chef's, CX, Ginger, Gateway, Foody's, Cherry Square, Sai Bhavani, GNPD and Bittu da Dhaba owe a large portion of their business to us taste-startved NITKians. Not to mention the cheap-and best NC whose Vada Paos and Gulab Jamuns were, for most of us, a daily routine. Add NFC, Nescafe, the Coffee Dabba, Shanbogue, Sundar's, the beach-shack to the list and you don't have to feel sorry for us anymore! But yes, still, despite all the options, the mess food sucks. Food-wise, NITK has prepared me for the worst in vegetarian food. You can throw Hemant Karkare's bulletproof vest at me and there's a high chance I'd find that softer and tastier than the mess rotis. I am confident I can survive on(and probably even relish) anything that even remotely looks, smells and tastes like food. May God help me!

The hostel:

As a bespectacled goody-two-shoes Tairsaadham party, I entered the NITK hostel, only to see my Bong roomie smoking away like a chimney in my first week. Thus began my hostel experience. Then came Room 40, and the rest was history. The crappy mess food, ragging, the exasperatingly inefficient hostel administrations, the extremely moronic procedures for room allotment, lot picking, room politics, utterly non-responsive student unions and the utterly disgusting politics every year, night-long blackouts, perennial powerlessness and waterlessness, loaded toilets, unflushed loos, the stench of vomit in the corridor following a party - all these and more were but minor hiccups in a rollicking hostel life with absolutely amazing friends, 20+ guys in one room, night-outs, terrace night-outs, star-gazing at 3AM, poker, Thadambail breakfasts, fudging EG sheets, mafia, carrom, sports, GD, LAN, DC++. the eleventh-hour MTP, Eco and MM slog-yards, A-wing, beach, guitar, national integration(:P), TV rooms, TT room, common rooms, freshers, farewells, job treat, block parties, wing treats, floor treats, GPLs, mass GPLs, trips, treks, net, USB hard disks, anime, stuff, GB, GNPD, movies, sitcoms, series, musical nights, SAC movie nights, gaming, club fests, quizzes, dramatics, SPICMACAY concerts, Crrescendo, Incident and Engineer. Hostel life at NITK was a once-in-a-lifetime experience which I would give anything to relive again.

My time at NITK will be treasured as four of the best years of my life so far. As I step out of NITK, the one place that has given me hell and heaven, into the real world with its actual food, water, electricity, better weather and a better sex ratio(quoting Kaadu here), I hope to take with me and never forget everything that this wonderful college has taught me. In all my future endeavours, as we were all made to repeat at that wonderful ring ceremony, may God help me.


Anonymous said…
bravo bravo !!!

some comments are audacious... be sure it doesnt reach big bro (NITK), he's watching...
Divya said…
well written :)
Manu V Nair said…
better sex ratio ah... speak for urself bro.. speak for urself... :'( :-P

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