Friday, October 07, 2005

Perhaps it's their Alma Mater

After a really long time, I was walking into the IIT Madras campus. Albeit claimed to be a deer reserve, I couldn’t spot one; must be study time then. Walking through that isolated town always recalled those images of Coimbatore Forest College where some of my mother’s colleagues used to work.

I was almost panicked when I found my clock ticking 3:00 PM, scared that I might have missed the best part of the first day of SAASTRA 2005. But luckily I did not. Unlike most of the colleges where people start their day in the morning, these people do it only in the dusk. The inauguration which planned to start by 5:30 did start in time, amazing huh!

Well these people really have their own style, I’ll tell you how. In SAASTRA, where brilliant brains converge, every thing was weird. The whole way they function is truly complex. Doing things in the unusual way has become a usual way to them. I’ve been to a few conferences, seminars, symposiums and found the chief guest, the host, and even the anchor dressed in utterly formal attire. But what I saw is truly hard to believe. None of the IITan inclusive of the deans, chairman, and the chief guest was in business formal suits. The huge auditorium was totally vacant except for me when I entered it an hour before the function. The chief coordinator (one with a French beard, wearing pre –shrunk chick shirt and cotton slacks) came sluggishly with a Sony Waio only half an hour prior. His team followed (none was in formals!). Then came the media team with a high end digital camera connected with a 512 kbps broadband line which was to continuously stream everything online.

As the anchor (a round guy weighing about 90 kg wearing a cargo shirt tucked out) introduced the dais and requested to take position, they were grinningly searching the name plates to find which their supposed seat was. The whole event went on so casual. The dean looked so amicable. I found he was truly one of such kind when he started to speak. I was spell bound looking at that, the whole crowd cheered him as he was invited. Cameras were flooding to take pictures of him. (Believe me there was only one reporter and the rest were students). What else does a teacher need? As he spoke, I guessed whom else do the students need for motivation?

The chief guest did really what he was supposed to do – he stole the show. An alumnus of IIT M, he started of the typical “start with a bang” policy. He complimented the Dean commenting that the lunch was so irresistible, tasting as good as the hostel food. The laughter should have torn the roof apart.

Well, you must be wondering if two persons were writing this article.. Yup, I have poured in both negative and positive criticism simultaneously. Although everything looked so casual, it even gave me an impression if the people had a “come what may” attitude, everything was functioning as planned. There were no confusions, no alterations and nothing messy. The chief organizer sat silently in one corner and watched the whole event like a fresher.

At the last symposium I attended in one of the top deemed universities, the speakers were all in brilliant business suits. And guess what, none of them except for the chief guest could complete a sentence in proper English. Some contradicted the previous speaker, some even advised students to wake up early, work hard and eat well. I had to recall that I was sitting in a national technical symposium.

But here, none in the dais was in suits, they all appeared friendly in casuals. They spoke of real technology, real talent, all complimented the students and possessed them as assets. It clearly shows they worship talent, raw talent. They do not fall prey to the tinsel world fame, the pseudo elite society which much of the higher echelons of society have felled into.

It’s definitely their alma mater.

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