There was a time when my father used to take me in his arms, rub his cheeks against mine, kiss me numerous times and then holding me up in the air he would ask me in a grand voice,” My dear son, what would you like to become when you grow up?” Immediately I would lisp at the top of my voice: “Astlonaut”. And before my father could say anything, I used to shout again at the top of my voice “No, No! Not an astlonaut! I want to be Thupalman.” And I would curve my eyebrows and grin and make irritating background noises as if I was looking at Lex Luthor.
But as I kept growing up my aim kept changing almost with the size of my stockings. And when a little maturity dawned I realised that Superman was impossible, even if I didn’t mind wearing my under-wears over my pants. And then one fine morning I decided that I would become an engineer and make mighty aero planes.
And one finer morning, after a tantalizing sermon by my elder brother on something called the ‘IIT’, I again had a change of my mind. And this time the change came with conviction and determination. (Wow!) . I decided no matter what tragedy or destiny befalls me, I am going to be an IITian and not just an engineer.
Do I need to tell you the difference between an engineer and an IITian? Well, I won’t say much except this: Just consider the onomatopoeic difference- engineer sounds so nerdy and technical whereas IITian has such a cool, classy and awesome sound.
Now my dear readers, you all must have related to the above case in some way or the other; except if you are some non-techie freak, or except of course your dad was someone like the reverend ‘Hitler Qureshi’ of ‘3Idiots’ fame, who as soon as a son is born, holds the baby by his leg, pats his new butts and then announces to the entire crew of the operation theatre “Whoa! My son is going to be an engineer!”
Well to move on, there came a time when IIT became the sole motive of our lives. H. C. Verma, Arihant, M. L. Khanna, R. C. Mukherjee and of course Irodov (by the way, how many of you ever opened that book? Hands up!) became the drugs without which we suffered from mental depressions and unnatural heart-beats. Coaching classes became the hottest places in town. Movies, games, novels, guitars, quizzes, gossips, and other such activities were deemed to be cardinal sins and were restricted to some odd impoverished hour of the month. Infact there were times when we wanted to ask that cute girl next door out. And then after gathering all our courage when we finally stood facing the blushing girl, not a word would come out. And finally after mustering courage from all the secret courage-godowns of our body, when finally we opened our mouths, we ended up blurting out the all important equation of the Friedel Crafts Reaction that we had been mugging up the previous day.
However, another finer morning this whole drama ended and we were thrown out of our houses, and packed off to a place called Dhanbad.( Well, Dhanbad is in Jharkhand, a state of India and located at 23°48′N and 86°27′E. Don’t ever ask me again!)
And while on the train to Dhanbad we kept reassuring ourselves of our latest achievement – “After all, I did crack IIT-JEE!” And it didn’t take much time for that assurance to turn into a pessimistic reminder “After all didn’t I crack IIT-JEE?”
Welcome, my dear friends, and all who are reading this. The matter before us is nothing new. It never was. Sometimes it turns up in the form of a single question, sometimes in the form of a crude frustration visible on our faces, sometimes in the slangs and curses we shower on the inefficiencies of the various systems around us, sometimes in the form of a lackluster college fest, sometimes in the snail-like speed of the internet, sometimes in the ill-architecture of the LHC, and most of the times in the form of new promises and hopes. The bottom-line is: the issue always remains at the back of our mind, even though the daily life priorities have curtained it from our immediate attention.
I am not going to give reasons why ISM deserves to be an IIT but then we all know how much we all deserve to be IITians. Because we know that there is a Himalayan difference between an IITian and an IIT-JEEian. Because the former is not just a brand but also a mighty recognition just like the latter is an unknown, self-pitying tag.
We have told our guardians, spoken to our leaders and are crying at the top of our voice hoping that by some odd-coincidence, our pleas fall on some responsible and uncorrupt ear-drums. It is not that we cannot do anything else, but that we have faith in the democratic institutions of the largest democracy of this world. And we know that we have suffered the pangs of neglect and have been driven like beggars from this authority to that government. The question that comes out of all these is: when are we going to get what is rightfully ours?
We can take some great steps to make way for the much desired and much elusive IIT-Dhanbad. We can rush to that dream the way we want. We have what it takes to create a great change, to rock governments, to make our voices heard by hook or by crook. We have intelligence, skill, talent, foresight, strength and zeal that we can use to further our ends the way we want. We don’t need an IITJEE to prove this. But we also are, or at least aspire to be good citizens. We do not need anyone’s negligence or cold-shoulder to prove otherwise.
And hence we are left with not much option but to use the most conventional, hopefully effective and of course very infectious weapon of all times to fight this cruel game set on us- faith. It’s the faith in our own capabilities to sculpt out a beautiful life for ourselves and our neighbors.
And of course hope- one that glimmers in our eyes. And even though this hope is very minute and little, still it rises above all prejudices and bindings, and unwraps itself to the entire diaspora of ISM like a light, echoing in every dust and brick of this place – “We are dynamites.”