All Work No Play, Makes Jack a Dull boy.. In IIT(G.. it happens Guwahati at least!), this thought descends upon the minds of students in the last lap of their race called ‘IIT life’. Yes, final year fills in the students, particularly B.techs, an unprecedented enthusiasm for sports. Not being a part of at least one sport becomes so ‘not cool’ suddenly. But the first three year find a significant section of people not busy with sports. And this trend has been observed invariably year after year. So an intriguing question is “Why now? Why not earlier?” Let’s explore…
Generally, one gets a standard reply to such question, that “we had other tasks earlier. ”, but considering an IITian style of living, it is quite reasonable to agree that the ‘other tasks’ were mainly different types of recreation, since students in IIT are not nerds. So one cannot buy any sort of argument that would imply that earlier students did not get time for sports. They did, but for other kinds of leisure activities which are different for different chaps. There is one breed of people who sleep and wake with computer games. They talk of it even during meals in the mess, if at all they remember to have food during mess hours! Similarly, we have the movie maniacs. Members of this tribe are crazy about watching movies and soaps.
But film studios haven’t stopped releasing movies. New seasons and episodes of various soaps are also available even now. There is no dearth of computer games or of excitement for new arenas of old computer games. So why the other wise really exciting passions of students fail to please them now? Why are those passions put on backburner now? People who never held a ball in their hands are now hitting courts regularly. A basket ball team consisting of final year students has not five but as many as seven (or even eight sometimes!) players. Even some good second year inter-IIT students are at times displaced from the fields and are told to play somewhere else to make room for their seniors. Oh yeah, they are seniors, at least, in terms of years spent in IIT if not in their experience in sports. Students can be seen trying their hands at everything under the sun as if tasting all the food stuff in their meal! Lawn tennis seems to be the easiest option to start with. No wonder tennis court is found so much congested these days. Some boys have gone as far as purchasing new tennis rackets. It’s true that it’s never late to learn anything in life, but why this learning thought strikes in eighth semester!! Is it because your next door neighbor is playing, so you should also go for it (so that you would not be appearing left out)? ….. If reader finds a suitable answer to these questions, author would be more than pleased to see it, as he could not find one.
(A final year student himself and a struggling player since first year!)
This is one of the many good lessons I have learned from my friend Sachin. The deplorable state of various amenities in our hostels is something we constantly whine about. I had an interesting experience recently in this regard. There is a cistern above the urinals in our washrooms. I am not sure if people are aware of that because I have never seen them working here in any hostel in over three years. Perhaps no one complained to the concerned person for this, though lots of people come out of and go into washrooms with their hands on their noses. Cisterns are supposed to constantly let some drops of water fall on the urinal so that urine is flushed out regularly which otherwise smells like shit. Naphthalene balls are a cheaper solution but I was impressed to see cisterns in their place. So, I thought that when we are given this costly facility, why not it be put to use. I used the electronic complaint system launched last semester. Its response was far more than I expected. The plumber knocked at my door the very next day! I was truly taken by surprise. I showed him the situation, he did something. The cistern worked for a day. After that, rather than sprinkling water, it was like a running tap! It was closed in few days. This semester, I complained again. Again they came to me on the first working day itself. I was this time not too impressed because I expected that like last time, he will do some quick service to show officially that he has fixed the problem and gain money- typical ‘sarkari’ method. So I talked to him this time in a very firm manner. He explored the cistern very patiently and told that some thing was blocked for not having been used for ages. I was appalled to see that such costly things are kept idle to become useless in long time (by the way, the expensive Sony music system in the gym is another such example). It was truly useless now, as he had to change it. Two days later, I got a new cistern in out washroom. It is not the branded Parryware or Hindware like the previous one, but it does work! And ours is perhaps the only washroom at least in Manas that has a cistern up and running. By the way, I also noticed in admin building recently, a urinal with automatic cistern, it had a sensor! I really felt that I was Indian Institute of TECHNOLOGY.
Moral of the story? Rather than bitching about “JUST TEN SPOONS IN MESS” or “FED UP WITH ONLY ‘Panther’ PRESCRIBED IN DISPENSARY?” or “WHY ARE HOSTEL TOILETS STINKING”, get up and talk politely but firmly to the person responsible for the situation. Remove this misconception from the minds of admin that ours is just another ‘sarkari’ office. This is IIT, where they have got to deal with educated and young dynamos called IITians who know well how to fight for their right.
We have always despised government departments and offices for being inefficient and corrupt. We view them as a store house of lazy babus. Have we ever given a thought as to why year after year, babus keep on getting born in these offices? When one babu departs (retires.. because they are never fired!) to make room for a new candidate for his job, all that we get is another incompetent employee. Why?
We might get an answer if observe our technical and cultural fests. We organize Techniche and Alcheringa every year, which are indeed splendid festivals in terms of scale , organizational responsibilities, events and what not. We notice one thing in most of the events: they are delayed. They are not on time most of the times. In the inauguration of every edition of Techniche and Alcheriga, Dr. Gautam Barua , our director, urges us to start an event scheduled at 5 , at 5 and not at 5:30! But this doesn’t happen. I am not blaming anyone for this. I am myself a part of the same system for four years now. My event was also delayed. But is the inability to do things on time inherent in Indians? Is it impossible to respect punctuality? I am bewildered with these questions and observations because today when we go to , say, reservation counter of a railway station, we feel annoyed to see clerks sitting on counter taking ages to make the ticket or to find him not in his seat during office hours. But ultimately it is the people of a country that constitutes that nation. All of us will join the work force in a matter of few months. If we can’t organize things here in IIT with punctuality, how shall we do it in the offices we will join?
A similar and intriguing trait I observed during placements. I found many students more than willing to join NTPC or other PSU’s like IOCL and ONGC. They presented the simple logic that they would not need to work much in those companies. Well, these are the people who are called young IITians, graduates from elite institutions. If they are so much averse to work, what can one expect from the babu sitting in some municipality office or at a railway station for that matter?