Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Mumbaikar in Madras...

Sunil summed up the whole idea of being a student from the vernacular medium studying in an English-medium institute like Anna U on his blog the other day. It inspired me into writing my own views on the whole experience of being an "outsider" in Anna University, like the proverbial
Englishman in New York - recognized, but not really accepted!

Anna University has its set of what Dr.O called "hindi-kaarans". These folks were generally non-Tamilians who generally were from the Northern parts of the country, and from Day-1 itself were singled out for special treatment, both from their peers and from a few professors. I for one didnt really face much of this special treatment from my seniors, as I was a day scholar, plus there were folks who were nice enough to play "protector"!

Being from Bombay, word had gotten around about me on the first day itself, and I was pretty much a marked man. With all due respect to the average guy in Anna U, most of them look like a cross between T. Rajendran and Vadivel. The Leather Tech department was full of the rowdiest of the rowdies, and I got scorched pretty bad by a few folks there. I wasnt spared by the Biotech seniors either (both absolute pussycats as I'd discover later), who got together with two hulks of seniors from my department and ragged the daylights out of me in the ACTech canteen. But I was spared any major ragging thankfully. [Have heard a lot about Sunil's ragging abilities, but he fortunately spared me!!!]. The NCC interview ofcourse was a different story, with Messrs. Mothivel and Hariprasad (along with Sathish and Bruce skewering my best cadet chances with questions outside the 'curriculum').

Overall I got along pretty well with all the professors except two gentlemen - O and Gunz. O as mentioned earlier has generally had his knives out for every non-Tamilian student passing thru ACTech. Combined with the fact that I was a Mallu to boot, he had a sword ready for me. All the same it wasnt much fun having it dangle over my head, as he put deadline after deadline by which I was supposed to converse with him in pure Tamil, which naturally never happened, leading to many a snide remark over the next 2 years. I had the misfortune of having him as my viva examiner for an Organic Chemistry lab, which got me very close to scoring a 'cup'. But overall, he was a decent professor who taught fairly well and was concerned about ensuring that everyone understood whatever he taught.

Gunz was O's sidekick who taught us Math in the 3rd semester. For some weird reason, all the questions in class, kept getting directed at me and I got marked off for all the times (pretty much 100%) of the time I couldnt answer the question. Man, am I glad to have got past 3rd semester!

3rd semester was the craziest semester we AC-techers went through! Berchmans' lab...Cup-Kali's theory and lab....Karthiyaswami's weird Electrical Engg lab....Iyengar-saami's Strength of Materials class....Chinnakali's Materials Science class....amazing days!


Sunil said...

You had it easy Bangalore Boyz had a far harder time in our first year :-)

Believe me, you met a benign lot of seniors (especially since "ragging" had been banned and you could get into serious trouble if caught).

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