How I came to Dhanbad, and enjoyed the next few years…

By Sumeet Chilwal

After 15 long hours, the train had finally reached its destination, looking out of the window I saw an Indian Railways signboard proudly displaying the words ‘DHANBAD’, a name which was about to be my residence for the next 4 years and a part of my life hence. My father and I pulled my heavy luggage out of the train and here we were far-far away from Delhi on a relatively small platform in a relatively sleepy city.

Everybody had congratulated me and narrated countless stories of IITians getting paid heavily and having a strong profile on matrimony sites, while they relished their sweet which my parents and I had been distributing throughout the day when the result of IIT JEE 2010 had been announced. The counselling proved to be a surprise as I had been awarded with an unfamiliar course in an unfamiliar college which I was not even aware that I had filled during my counselling sessions.

“Mining Machinery at ISM Dhanbad and what is the full form of ISM again?” My neighbour aunt inquired, quite bewildered by the name.

“Aunty, it is Indian School of Mines”

“And where is it again?”

I had already told here the name of the college and the place.

“Aunty it’s in Dhanbad”

“Is it near Pune?” God! Didn’t she have a geography subject in school?

“No it’s in Jharkhand”

“I thought you had cleared JEE, couldn’t you get a place in Delhi or Mumbai?”

“No there is a long procedure and besides ISM is also one of the IITs in fact its name is IIT(ISM) Dhanbad” I had seen some fb updates on the profile pages of people studying here.

“Oh and what is the course, is it something like ITI?”

“No, it’s a unique B Tech course given to only 36 of the country’s top students”

This was the routine round of questions I had to answer after the people I had distributed sweets to had begun asking me about my allotted college and course. Frankly even I was doubtful of the course and I had even thought that there was a typing error in the name of the course. After consulting some wiser people and a day long search on the internet proved that there was a real course named Btech. In Mining Machinery Engineering, in a real college named ISM Dhanbad.

Coming back to the platform I helped my Dad load my luggage onto the auto and we reached ISM which obviously had a small campus compared to IIT Delhi and being a Delhite I didn’t like the city and the Bihari and Bengali speaking people who lived here and the litti chokha which the people here loved and the filling of sattu that surprised your mouth whenever you ate anything which is supposed to have a filling like kachoris. I mean how can anyone live without a Pizza Hut or a Dominoes?

I was allotted a room in OPAL Hostel which had white walls which were so white that they shared the whiteness with your clothes and hair. My room no. was 212 which I thought was kind of funny considering it was an palindrome and read 212 from both sides and I felt that life here was going to screw me from both sides (no hidden dark meanings intended) with a college which I felt was difficult to come to terms with and a city which was difficult to live in. My father left me in my room and I met my roommate and many other first years who were terrified of seniors and the hideous things they did while ragging first years. Soon we began receiving phone calls from seniors who had indigenously started guessing the phone numbers from those being distributed at the stalls setup for first years by various telecom companies, and the first phase of my life as a college goer started.

Starting from reciting the anthem, to the muski, to unnecessary questions about various clubs I intended to join (those who are in ISM will know of the clubs I am mentioning), the questions on frequency (which I had replied in Hertz much to the amusement of my seniors) and the Puk-Puk which was actually pronounced with an F, I’ve been there done that.

I still remember those nights spent in the hostels of seniors both of branch and otherwise, giving out loud commentary on pre-recorded videos (you know to which) and participating in plays along with my fellow first years involving buyers and sellers (I don’t know whether you get this, here’s a hint, it involved someone selling someone to someone) and having ragging sessions at RD late at night which much to my shame I had later learnt to enjoy, as these extra-curricular activities organised by our respected seniors gave us a break from our regular and mundane lives of attending lectures at ISM, plus who could forget the treats that followed.

Then first year was gone, I still remember how we longed for the vacations to come so that we could run back to our homes and how after two weeks I would start missing ISM. Just like the first year the 2nd the 3rd have gone and at an unbelievable speed, and now I am standing at a point that I am going to become an ex-student soon. The place which I felt initially that I could not live in had become such a part of my life that I had forgotten how life was at the beginning of college.

In hostels there have always been an excitement in doing things whether celebrating birthdays with the deadly GPLs or the internships again with the deadly GPLs or with the placement which were accompanied again with the GPLs. Definition of celebration has drastically changed to GPLs and Booze. There was a feeling of excitement during the otherwise mundane activities like having a bath after days, or washing those clothes because you have no money to pay the dhobi, or attending classes after days (excitement which vanished after sometime) or gathering a rupee each from your friends to drink tea or smoke a sutta and I will surely miss these a lot.

Looking back at these 4 years both as a junior and a senior I can only say that this has given me lots of things, degree and a job being just a small part of it. Here I have made friends who would drink with you, laugh with you and cry with you (not all at the same time thankfully), I have got juniors who would be available for you whenever you called them and I have got seniors who would help you without asking anything in return. I have been fortunate to know both hard work and fun part of life and I have learnt that you do not need to ask for anything while serving others from ShekharJi and his gang (and I will one day repay my udhar, fingers crossed here), I have learnt that a cloth can be worn any number of times and that one can live off anything in the name of food and still gain weight.

These four years have been the best things that have happened to me and I think that the memories that I am taking from here are worth keeping in a safe. To all my juniors I would like to say, savour the moment that you have right now because trust me final year is not as good as it looks, its filled with remorse of not doing things you ought to have done and sadness of leaving your friends and the institute behind as you move on. To all my teachers I would like to say “Aapne padhane ki koshish to bahut ki bas hum hi nahi padhe”. To all my seniors I would like to say you all have been the greatest mentors in my life and that there is still loads to learn from you. In the end I would like to say to my friends “Bhaiyo abhi ek sem padha hai kuch padha dena yr”.

P.S. Sorry for the long post I might have rambled a bit but
no amount of words can possibly express the emotions attached with ISM.

Continuing with our series about engineering colleges, here Sumeet Chilwal writes about his experiences at ISM Dhanbad.