The IIT life that I led was not the one that I imagined I would
have while writing the JEE exam. On the other hand, what was I thinking at all when I was writing the exam? The dream was to learn in the hallowed
corridors of IIT. But it did not turn out that way – the most I learnt was from the corridors of Nehru Hall of Residence
and other Halls.

Looking back at the structure of Energy Engineering – I was lucky to have
it that way. Energy Engineering was brilliantly structured to be a khichdi of
Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Personally, that helped me immensely in what I do today – thinking about everything
in a holistic manner rather than bogged down like a horse with two blinders.

Now back to the serious part – life outside the hallowed corridors. The one thing that
I took away from the 4 years of life in IIT – Confidence. Confidence to deal with anything – does not matter if
I failed in most of it. The “Kya Hoga” positive risk taking
attitude was just great!

From Hall Council Meetings to IIT Gymkhana politics to being part of the
disciplinary committees (DC) – I had a rollicking time. Dealing with DC cases (though might sound immature cases now)
were some of the best and the worst times. Cases ranged from Girls and Boys having a
dance night-out in Gymkhana (the complaint brought in by jealous boyfriends
who said that high heeled shoes had spoilt the baddy courts and Girls had skipped the curfew
time) to exam cheating cases. Some of the 1st year orientation cases were surely not
pretty and hard to deal with while being part of the decision making process to
rusticate the student.

The other tough
part while being the Hall President was dealing with some of the emotional
distress of the 1st year students. Many of them came to the Hall after being carefully
sheltered and nurtured by very protective parents. I do remember bunch of them
fainting and then ending up sleeping in my room (so others would not bother them)
for a very mundane reason and then wanting to leave IIT. Funny to see some of
them now leading very high profile companies in the world – unfortunately
cannot name them here – though very, very, tempted to.

Overall IIT
life was one that I entered as a potential engineering student but graduated
with much more. The Engineering Degree that I received became a byproduct of my
life of 4 years in IIT and not the primary product.

Editor’s note: We are pleased to present to you a series of articles and stories from India’s premier engineering institutes. This is the first article in the series, a reminiscence by Harish Hande, a 1990 batch alumnus of IIT Kharagpur.

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