Freshers’ Perspective at IIT Kanpur

It has been more than two months since we arrived here at IITK. But somehow, the last few weeks (takneek and midsems) seem to have been the longest. Opinions forged before coming to IITK (Ha!) have already given way to new ones.  In the “Disneyland of everything under the Sun”, life is pretty fast and opinions change. 

My pseudo family (my bhais, baapu (and amma?), chachas, dada) is forever by my side. I take a step wrong and my baapu is there to guide me! But apart from the ‘student guide’ part , this family provides me with something more. A group of friends I can waste my time with! The orientation days were filled with the dread of ‘interaction’ with seniors. But in hindsight I remember them as the days when I had the most fun. My baapu had preached the same since the very beginning!

My father taught me to speak respectfully. My baapu teaches me ‘ IITK Lingo’. On the very first day I find myself listening to fun stuff like “chill hai”, “lass mat!”, “bahut bakaiti hai?”, “huggne ja raha hai?” and progressing on to unmentionable things! Smart and intelligent kids. The bright future of our nation. The ones who will represent us, speaking such a language? It was pretty hard to digest as it was nothing like I had previously imagined. Once again, opinions change and I find myself at peace with hearing ‘pleasantries’ being shouted from all directions.

Even in front of the professor?- you might ask. Well yes and no. They are disguised as anthems of the hall in which you belong!  That being said the hostels are little works of art in themselves! We were really underwhelmed by the rooms at first. However, with time you realize that it is the perfect scenario. The ‘green’ campus forces the bugs in, which in turn force you out. And here, rooms are just for sleeping. Also, the somewhat unsettling lack of LAN connection and code against laptops makes sure you are bonding with your wingies

Then each resident is meticulously programmed to hate and despise every other hall. We have a President and his Cabinet i.e the HEC. Its main function is to look after the everyday functioning of the hall (20%) and generating ‘enthu‘  in the freshers (80%) towards their hall.

Don’t get me started on ‘enthu‘. It is the only pre-requisite to fly. Yeah, so everyone must drink Red Bulls to get ‘enthu‘ and subsequently generate wings. Had I known beforehand (like during my birth) I would have taken the precaution of falling into a cauldron full of Red Bull like Obelix did. All the clubs rely on it. There are 4 major sections. Cultural, Games and Sports, Science and Technology and Films and Media Council. Each of these in turn has another host of options in them. I wanted to join one from each! I fall repeatedly short on the requisite enthu to achieve this feat!  And,get this, there is still an option to open your very own Hobby Group. Personally, it would take me a long time finding one which hasn’t already been made!

Now each of these major section holds its own annual completion: Hall level and College level. How wonderful! Having experienced Takneek in its full might, I am a little (nay, a lot) buzzed off about the Calender. Almost every weekend has some or the other competition going on! That being said, I cannot deny that it was Takneek that finally made me realize I was in college. And a wonderful one at that.We make stuff in our first year which third years of other colleges research on! The night-outs working on the projects and then the cheering are just some of the great moments.

I would have been immensely happy at the number of competitions and clubs if not for studies. Then I remember studies are the reason I am here in the first place! This divine knowledge dawns when the midsems loom ahead. And then the library is the refuge. Three storied, fully air conditioned and during exams the 24hr schedule supports the erratic sleep plans I make. The amount of syllabus is vast. Time is minimal. But I feel no stress! That is the strength your friends give you when they say “kuch nahi pada!”

And the subjects themselves are funny. MTH101 mocks your ideas on the obvious. HSS? Eh? What is that?  With such vast changes, including the return of subjective papers, you are highly likely to crash and burn along with your CPI. What doesn’t help is the “bulla kaatna” we do. Honestly, I can’t help it. If a room in the wing is open and there are people talking about stuff, I have to join them. Now I am stuck with mediocre grades. “End-Sem mein phod denge” Right. (yawn). That’s the spirit……

The only course I am currently excelling in is the Compulsory PE on the basis of attendance. It is still hard, though. Waking up at 5:30 AM just to run a given field twice. People say it should be scrapped. These are the ones with 3-4 bunks and staring down the barrel of ‘repeat’.

How hard is it? Sleep at 3:00, wake at 5:30. Should be enough! And there will always be that one guy who would be like “maine to night out maara“. During the takneek week and the midsems, my capacity to stay awake was tested. (and it failed) With an average sleep of about 3 hrs for an entire fortnight, I still am not the Alpha in this. There are creatures (not people, creatures) who had 2 hrs. Yay, you won.

Finally, Mess Food. My reactions in chronological order-

  1. Great Menu
  2. Authentic dhaaba taste!
  3. I can live with this.
  4. I can live on this.

The last one is open till 2:00 AM. Midnight snacking is a lot of fun. And suddenly, home feels too mundane. (Who’ll cook you up macaroni at 2 AM? Huh? Your mom? Ha!)j

As Jahangiri (the lesser known poet) said-“If there is heaven on earth, it probably isn’t here…” But all the same. It’s our college. And it’s IITK.

This article was originally written by Pratyush Garg and published in Vox Populi the campus magazine of IIT Kanpur.