Circa 2003: Context
A batch of young guns walks into the premises of an unknown locality on the outskirts of the capital city of Delhi. Once you start driving from Delhi, the journey never seems to end – you wait and wait and wait, and long after you’ve given up hope of reaching anywhere, this place arises from nowhere, called Delhi College of Engineering.
Most of them from Delhi, a few from the other parts of the country – a perfect amalgamation of confidence and uncertainty – Should I shout and tell everyone around that here I am, making a mark in the most recent chapter of my life? Or should I be quite and observant, looking around for the place and noticing the quest that everyone has, hidden somewhere beneath 8 inches below their left shoulder!
Some take the former as their approach, a few follow the latter. Ultimately, both are unique components of the irresolute batch that has just walked in.
There's excitement for being into an engineering college (of some repute), and there are also thoughts around the testing times ahead. To start with, how will the 'ragging' be? Wasn't it banned a couple of years ago? You try not to look too many people in the eye, because who knows, the other person could be hunting the jungle for a prey, so that their group could get a ransom for having crossed the first year, and a toy to sneak!
I've heard a lot that you never forget your first day in college - but somehow, I don't really remember how exactly it went - I do remember roughly that there were lots of formalities to be done, and obviously, we were trying to avoid the eyes of seniors around, but apart from that not much is there as TOMA. Maybe because our core group came up later on, in the second year of engineering, and thus, the first days never got a recall in any of the pursuing years' discussions.
Anyhow, our first year hostels were very far from senior hostels, and thus, it wasn't very eventful - though there are a couple of incidents that call for a recall - the best among them being the "sandal" incident, which one of my close friends was a part of - what happened was, during one of the interaction sessions with seniors in canteen (read, ragging sessions), this friend of mine was asked to go to this other female senior of ours (read, another hot babe!) and go and ask for her figure. This friend goes over to that female after much reluctance, and poses this question, much to her interest! This babe isn't so easygoing as well, and she hands over her sandal to my friend, and tells him to give it to the guy who actually had sent him! Now this inquizitive friend of mine is in a dilemma - he's in a fix, and what he does is - he runs!!!! He runs with the sandal, and goes and hides behind some bushes, escaping both of the parties of the ragging incident. We could fall laughing out loud everytime we recalled this incident, and hence, one of the incidents with highest TOMA.
My flatmates of first year used to keep their heads very low, and thus, there weren't much interactions we had with our seniors (read, ragging sessions)! Hence, we did miss out on lots of interesting sessions, which I realized later.
Another interesting thing was the cricket tournament that we had during out first year - it was a department-wise competition (a few departmnts were coupled together because the intake in those was very less, as compared to other branches like Civil or Mechanical). Hence, our branch was coupled with Production. (And I remember the days - particularly because no one would have cursed anyone more than S used to curse NK those days, because S invariably ended making ED sheets all the time we used to be in cricket field). Lots of specifics about those cricket matches - K's smashing hits and effortless sixes; A's awesome hand-eye coordination; The partnership between B and S in the final; etc etc - but they'll take a lot of time to elaborate - so this cricket post some other time.
All in all, a decent first year. Other noteworthy things included the first Engifest, various subjects that we studied in first year (subject of Kansal, Jaggu et al) - but these things are immaterial, and I would prefer to cover them in the upcoming years. So we'll halt this year for now. Second year should be better!