on 02 April, 2013

Workshop Days

Walking towards the chambers, the gloomy corridor, darkness everywhere, slowly the students descending down the stairs, below the ground level. Phone networks start to disappear. Suddenly somebody turns on the light and a man (who doesn't look like a professor) standing at a corner greets you with a diabolic smile and says those dreaded words - “Welcome to Workshop” (Sounds to me like Welcome to Hell). This was not just an Alfred Hitchkok movie climax scene but it was pretty scarier than latter. The introduction of First Year Engineers to workshop. 

First day, the explanation starts and students staring at each other at the very new instrument given to them like a toddler staring an enclylopedia.”And so we cut the metal like this”; that’s when the student starts paying attention after snapping out of the delusional world and call it a bad timing or whatever but that’s when the professor just completed his explanation. Now, the toddler looking at a big metal pieces kept in front of them. A lump in their throats asking, “Sir, do we have to cut and file all of them?“. With an impassive look on his face, the sir says, “Yes, all”.

And thus the ordeal begins, warriors battling with their swords, shields, with lots of sweat-shed, agony. This time the swords are hacksaw blades and files and the shield is a plain blue apron (which is much similar to that of the janitor’s uniform). Three weeks later, the scene changes, now the battlefield has less warriors and more of companions. Girls at a corner discussing about filing.... their nails; while the boys sweating it out for them. 

Five weeks later, the war begins. The war to complete a job, to complete the journal. Relations forgotten, friendship given up temporarily. Papers, tears, sweat and filed metal pieces flying everywhere. The darkness of the workshop no longer matters. What does, is the use of hacksaw and files. Strangers, too, seem approachable for helping in making a drawing or two. The whole class is now acquainted of each other because of favours.

The D-day arrives. Thus after taking the help of eight people to draw four diagrams, you finally manage to get the profeesor's signature on your file and you just wish to throw the file and apron away. But suddenly you feel emptiness inside the joyful you. You clutch the apron, you reminisce those jokes, the long chats while completing the job. Even though after submitting the workshop file and the job back to college, you do take something with you to next year.

The cutting and filing of metal and wood pieces might be a lesson of the filing that we have to undergo to be an engineer. The welding has taught us to blend in the crowd of like minds. For a delicate biotech student, workshop evoked my tougher side. It made me realise, I need to be brave and tough to survive as an engineer.

Thus, I think workshop didn’t just teach me how to fix a light bulb or a pipe but it taught me how to fix my new life as an engineer in the making.

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