on 15 August, 2013
What We Thought We'd Do
If we had all ended up being what we wanted to as slightly grown-up toddlers then there'd only be 0100* jobs for people in the world. Scientist, Doctor, Cricketer and our all-time favourite, Astronaut. I doubt many of us had even heard the word 'Engineering'. I'd know.
Or rather, I DIDN'T know. All I knew about my Bombay IITian father's qualification was that he was an engineer, and hence entitled to drive engines. Yes, at that age, engineer meant engine driver (much to the dismay of beloved Daddy ji). And 'mousse' was nothing more than a very cutesy way of saying mouse.
Then we grew a bit more. 'Engineering' seemed like a very fancy a** word. We'd associate it with building humongous machines or megastructures or turning the existing ones into minuscle thingies with the same basic function. Talk about what nanotech has done to computers using tiny silicon wafers and VLSI, for example. The point I'm making here is, we thought we'd be changing the face of the earth with our brilliance or shit.
A certain college professor (and self proclaimed philosopher) seems to still belong to that very school of thought. One of his preachments in particular, really got me thinking. He gave us all a handful of imaginary rice. And these weren't just any ordinary strain of rice. Passed down through the generations like the house keys of our saas-bahu serials, these very grains had been touched by engineers across the ages.
"We are engineers", he said. Right. Who knew.
"We are born to create". Uh huh. Assignments and files and presentations, he meant.
"We are born to share". Food, I guessed. Unless you're Joey, of course.
As I said, it got me thinking. What, you might ask? It was simple - The guy had gone bonkers. There could be no other logical and plausible explaination for what just happened. Maybe once I'm old and wrinkled and grumpier, will I appreciate the depth of what he'd said and done...but as of now, I can't see that happening.
This was from an engineer's point of view. If we talk about the generally oblivious public, engineers are mechanics. Even plumbers. Complete with greasy hands and a spanner or a screwdriver placed behind an ear. You ain't a good one if you can't fix every second 'element' we find in the house. Notice the word 'element', as it's not just household appliances we're talking of here. TVs and Laptops are just too mainstream. Nearly anyone could give them a few whacks and have them magically repaired in next to no time. The know-how to clear clogged drains, un-jam bathroom doors, and fix creaky windows are just some of the pre-requisits required to be termed as worthy of holding the degree. And in the unfortunate event of failing to successfully negotiate any of the above tasks, get ready to be sneered. Mercilessly. It doesn't matter whether you're from chemical or mechanical. If you cannot fix your home, you are officially branded as useless.
Now as students, let us ask ourselves - What is it that we do after all? What separates us, from the rest of the crowd? Well, if the university had its way, it'd be nothing. Our syllabus has probably been designed with the sole purpose of minimising that which we're actually learning from it. TechMax will only get you through these four years of farce. Evidently, it's not going to make you any wiser.
It would be wrong to let the university shoulder all of the blame though. Agreed, we learn about topics that are completely irrelevant in today's time, but we need to start somewhere. Build a base, and then kick on. The onus is on you.
Maybe then we'd be able to do what we thought we would. And not spend the rest of ours lives fixing doors and windows.
* PS:That's 4 in binary, for my hollow headed friends.
Image Credits - http://www.futuretwit.com/
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