However, we did manage to have an extremely successful trip to Gangtok after the final year exams. In a similar spirit, I did go for a jog one particular morning in the eighth semester; unfortunately no one saw that and now I myself doubt whether that was a dream, an illusion created in subconscious as a response to unfulfilled yearnings.
Another forgettable thing about those days was my contribution to the final year project. It's rare to have two or more people working on the same project, but since the project assigned to me was a sponsored one and relatively difficult (Speech Controlled Toy Car), my project guide assigned it to two of us. The toy-car was really cool: red with jazzy stickers and big enough for a four year old to sit and drive it.
We were supposed to develop a speech-recognition software that could decode the basic verbal instructions and then interface the hardware to control the navigation of car. That is all I can tell about the project. Most of it was done by my partner. The partner was also kind enough to give me some slides to show in the final review and told the review committee that I contributed in a few modules. My only contribution was cleaning the rat-poo inside the car after we returned from a month long winter break. Kabhi kabhi kapda bhi maar deta tha car pe. I sacrificed one of my old T-shirt for the purpose. Though I did feel sorry for letting down my professor and sent him "Happy Teacher's Day" mail after passing out.
My stay in KGP isn't all about failures and disappointments though. I was a regarded as a master in manipulating data extremely fast such that it doesn't look manipulated. Friends used to drop by in case they failed to get their experiments done on time. One more high point was that I and my Bridge-partner Piyush managed a Bronze medal in the year we learnt how to play the game. What must be considered here is that Kharagpur is a Bong's den and I really can’t tell you how well versed Bengalis are in doing things that involve sitting for hours.
There were quite a few wildly funny incidents which involved ragging, nudity (male) and intoxications; let's take up a cleaner one below.
Our wing of 12 guys had a open door policy; anyone would walk-in for a sutta( cigarette) and find people playing cards at almost any hour of the day. Piyush and I were aspiring Instrumentation Engineers in our third year and firm believers in cycle-pooling.
One fine evening a sincere branch-mate walked into a smoke filled room and tells us that next day there is a class-test on MicroProcessors. He also informed that last year the professor had given 20 questions from the GATE exam and hence deduced that he should be studying the GATE paper. We inferred that it would be an objective type question paper and hence deduced that we should create a cheat-sheet. We wrote 1-20 on a sheet of paper and idea was to keep exchanging that sheet in exam hall with correct answers written on it. Satisfied with our preparation, we meandered into the world of Kings and Queens, and Hearts and Diamonds.
Next day Piyush and I wore shirts which had front pockets. Two guys wearing formal shirts riding double-seat on a cycle is a rare seen in KGP, we were men with a plan and least bothered about the general expectations in accordance with non-existent fashion trends of the campus .I kept the neatly folded sheet in my pocket. Piyush entered the classroom first and sat behind a bright chap and then I managed to sit behind Piyush. Luckily another studious fellow named Bornik sat behind me. We were all set.
Professor distributed the question papers. I knew answers to 2 out of 20, Piyush knew none. Everything was going as expected. I passed the sheet to Piyush with my 2 answers and then he returned it back without any value addition. I hurriedly pushed the sheet back into my pocket. We were sweating and nervous.
Then I saw Bornik’s left palm slightly open behind me. Even though he wasn’t in the loop, I decided to slip the cheat-sheet to him and rely on his presence of mind to comprehend its purpose. When the prof was about to turn, I got hold of the paper in my pocket and squeezed it into his hand, keeping my eyes all the time on the prof’s movements. Heartbeat-rate trebled. Bornik was apparently shocked by the action. The following conversation ensued:
“Ye kya hain?” (What’s this?)
“Khol ke dekh. Sab samajh jayega.” (Open it and you’ll understand)
“Aisa kyon kar rahan hain? Iski kya jarurat hain ?”(Why are you doing this? What’s the need of it?)
“Abe saale, discussion ka time nahi hain. Khol ke dekhaa ?” (Not a time for discussions; did u open it?)
“Mein aise hee bol deta hun. Mujhe nahi chaiye ye. Wapis le le.” (I’ll be telling you verbally. I don’t want this.Take it back).
“Abe likh ke de Ghochu. Kuch nahi hoga. Durr mat.” (Write it down #&@&#. Don’t worry)
Of course there were gaps in the above conversation, the words were not clear and we spoke whenever the professor turned. After a few such frantic and confusing verbal exchanges, he simply started dictating and we could manage 4-5 answers amongst us.
Then the bell rang and prof collected the answers. I leaned forward to Piyush and we exchanged that once-again-fucked look. I told Piyush that Bornik didn’t have the courage to exchange the cheat-sheet; he kept the sheet with himself and hence I couldn’t pass it along.
Meanwhile, Bornik stood up and took two steps to my desk.
He thumped his palm loudly on my desk.
When he lifted his palm, I saw a ten rupee note there.
He walked off in anger.
I was baffled for a second. Then it dawned.
I checked my front pocket. In it, lay the sheet which was supposed to sail us through.
PS : Bornik, to this day, thinks that I tried to bribe him for helping me in the test. He would never talk to me for the unintentional humiliation caused.