Remember those meaningless question grownups used to ask you as a child – “what do you want to be when you are big mone?”…. give that a kid a break, will ya?!! Engineering was something I never opted. It was either a pilot or a cricketer or a musician or a super hero. Yes, they used to give me choices (super hero was my own entry) , not that I understood the pros or cons of any.
People who know me knows that I’m an engineering graduate. Only God knows how I actually pulled it off (some of those instances which makes me an agnostic and not an atheist).
When I was mature enough to understand that I can never be a super hero and after a rather shaky roller coaster ride shattered my dreams of being a pilot, banking or chartered accountancy was my next career option. My father being a banker must have been the driving force behind that decision. I was all set to choose the “Commerce” department after my 10th grade when I realized most of my friends had chose the “Science” department option. I wonder how life would have turned out to be if I had chose career over friendship.
It was a special year for our school as well – 1999. In its 17 year history (since starting Class X) one student from our batch failed the board exams. It was also the year when “Pre-Degree” courses were abolished from the colleges of Kerala. Guess that was the reason why we had an extra option for “Plus 2” course – Science with Computer Science. Thank God for that. I detested Biology. I wonder why?.. I clearly remember us friends eagerly waiting for the “Life Sciences” chapter to begin during the Bio class in grade 9. Wonder what went wrong – maybe it was the annoying lady who taught that subject (can’t recollect her name) or the thought of dissecting a live frog/roach during lab.
Back in 2001, if you are a high school graduate majored in science your only options were engineering or medicine. Since I have not chose biology my only option was engineering – not that I had any intentions of being a doctor. Electronic gadgets have always fascinated me, be it the Casio G-Shock watch or the bulky Ericsson mobile phone – no we didn’t have LED TVs or touch screen phones back then. Guess that is the reason why I told my dad “Electronics & Communication” when he asked which branch of engineering I wanted to specialize.
And just when you think you have given the biggest exam of your life, the 12th boards, there comes the next one – entrance exams. I wrote precisely 4 entrance exams – Kerala state, Karnataka state, Cochin Univertity and IIT JEE – and spent a good amount of dad’s money for the entrance exam “coaching”. And where did I end up doing my engineering – Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
They say “first impression is the best impression”. Not something that is particularly true for me. I hated Chennai during the initial years. I wanted to discontinue my course till about 4th or 5th semester. I couldn’t figure out the language for quite some time. They even banned public smoking the year I landed there. But looking back now, those 4 years were truly golden – made friends that I’m sure will last a lifetime…had many adventurous journeys…learnt a new language…got kicked out of hostel…was debarred for a semester…had my first lessons in cooking…learnt to ride a bike…fell in love with an amazing woman…even got placed in one of the companies that came to recruit, but took some more time to finish what I came to the beautiful city for in the first place – engineering.
They say “time and tide waits for none”, I learnt it the hard way. I’m sure my life would have been pretty different now had I finished it on time. I will never know. But I’m not going to sit back and regret, in fact I’m lucky in a way. I’m really not keen in sitting in front on a computer and writing codes all day, and maybe the delay in completing my degree saved me from doing just that.
I’m miles away from that time and city now. Again I find myself in an similar situation. Unfamiliar people, still figuring out the language, still adjusting to the ridiculous climate.. but one thing that takes me forward, one thing that gives me special treatment while applying for driving license, one thing that gives me visa-on-arrival in some countries, one thing that I can say out proudly – I am an Engineer.