I had started working on this post a long time ago. It took me nearly a year to finally finish the post and click “Publish”. It’s my longest post till date but I get the feeling that I have missed out a few points! It’s hard to cram four years worth of memories into a blog post, mostly because there are so many moments and since I’m a master story-teller, I would probably end up with a book series if I were to recount each and every single moment of my college life. It is also for this reason that I’m refraining from mentioning all names with one sole exception.
All I had known about GECB was that it is located ‘somewhere’ along the route that I’d been using for years to get to school. I didn’t know where exactly this ‘somewhere’ was, until the day of my admission. When our 12th-grade marks were normalized (read: considerably reduced) and our Kerala entrance results were published, I was overjoyed to obtain a college admission on state merit. I got EC (Electronics and Communication Engineering) in the first allotment itself and so began, my adventure with GECB.
I met so many people on the day of my admission – people who were total strangers to me on that day but, went on to become my closest friends. On the very first day of college, I met three others who were on my exact “wavelength”, (a word which we have always used to describe our connection) and my bench mates for four long years. Over the course of time, the friendship circle grew. I realized that though I missed my school life, my college life more than made up for that loss. My life at GECB was awesome and the EC batch of 2012-16 are the best! My batchmates are the best and the random silly pranks that we often undertook are the memories that I love the most and recollect most frequently.
The first two semesters were probably the only time when our days were filled with classes. Introductions were yet to be made and the “right” for bench rotation was implemented, and the allotments were finalized. The orientation class acted as a catalyst for the mingling process. I went around teaching my new classmates how to spell my name. Its’s “S-H-W-E-T-A”, not “S-W-E-T-H-A” or even “S-H-W-E-T-H-A”. (Why the hell couldn’t you people get it right!? :P) I was fighting a lost battle there – nearly five years later and they still subject me to the absolute “horror” of having to see my name misspelled all over group chats. *sigh*
Those were the days when we religiously wore our ID cards every single day, switched off our mobile phones (if we even had one!), reached the class as early as 8.45 am, walked about in “herds” with our heads bent low in “mild” terror of seniors, left for home at exactly 4 pm on the dot, and even the boys brought notebooks and pens to college. Transistors used to confound us, and we struggled with nine theory papers. Some of us continued to go for tuitions,
all most of us had textbooks, had separate notebooks for all subjects and frequented the library. Free periods were a gift from heaven, and rare to come by, so we made the most of them. Lunch boxes were yet to shared, mobile numbers yet to be exchanged, friendships yet to be formed and broken. WhatsApp was not as popular as it is now and so we relied on facebook, texts, and calls for communication purposes. We exchanged tales of “encounters” with seniors and prayed to God to let us remain invisible, wrote and submitted (not copied!) all the assignments on or before the deadline, and all of us genuinely cared about attendance. Nicknames were yet to be assigned, and so, everyone went by their official names. I loved the fact that there were no uniforms and hated having to wear the dreaded workshop uniform on Mondays and having to deal with Fitting, Carpentry, Plumbing, Smithy or Foundry. The first “class” visit (Yeah, because wandering out alone was unthinkable!) to the canteen was undertaken after much planning, and every moment was captured on camera. We ‘occasionally’ bunked classes and practiced for the freshers’ day. I’ll never forget the skit we performed on freshers’ day – definitely one of the best ones our class has ever produced! We discovered our classmates’ talents and became immune to the howling (kooval in plain Malayalam) that every performance was greeted with by our seniors. Then came Sargam (GECB’s arts’ festival), and we practiced our Western group song (Send It On) in the shade offered by the water tank behind the canteen. We won the first prize for our troubles. Our seniors became the overall champions, thereby setting a tradition which we would continue for two more years in a row. We actually studied for Series exams, and studiously maintained rough and fair lab records! We looked forward to election campaigns which were nothing like anything we’d ever seen before. It served to educate us more about the history of Aagneya (that’s my college’s national level techno-cultural fest), and we watched in awestruck wonder as the two rival parties competed to counter each other’s stand. In those days, election campaigns were as close as we came to a break from the lectures. So naturally, our faces lit up the moment we saw the campaigning group at our classroom door. But then the day of the elections came, and the union was sworn into power, and that was the end of breaks in between classes. Every election season brought with a liberal dousing of drama, fights, heartfelt speeches, and more.
As the years progressed and our own batchmates became the candidates, we also switched roles from being the passive supporters looking for a break from lectures to staunch supporters and promoters. We went from being terrified of seniors to being friends with them, from separate notebooks to having a single “combined” note (or maybe two) for all the subjects, and some even went so far as recycling unused notes from previous semesters! Nicknames were in and official names were out, so much to the point of actually forgetting the actual names. In our second year, we worked very hard to defend our title as Arts Festival Champions and we pulled it off. Trudging up to the classroom well past 9 am in a group became the norm. Talking about our favourite movies and TV shows took up most of our time. Every single celebration at college was recorded for posterity thanks to the ones with the DSLR cameras. We had a great campus life, mostly free from the constant worry about internal marks, series exams, and attendance that seem to plague the life of other engineering students. We celebrated every birthday with pranks and treats. Lab sessions became more fun as the semesters progressed. Rough and fair records merged into one, and we became masters at forging readings 😀 We burnt more than our fair share of ICs, transistors, resistors, cut up the connecting wires into even smaller pieces, and spent quite a while trying to figure out if the waveform on the CRO was actually the output or just noise!
Our Industrial Visit is, without any doubt, the most adventurous, fun-filled and happiest 14 days of our lives. We toured most of North India and made memories for a lifetime which were widely documented through the lens of many a DSLR cameras. Our entire college life can be classified as pre-IV and post-IV periods. Post-IV period passed in a vivid blue of Whatsapp groups, heavily edited photos, facebook wall conversations and trolls. As the final few semesters approached, my class was extremely united, especially when it came to doing things at the last moment – submitting assignments “just before” the deadline, procuring photocopies and distributing it around, seminar reports, lab records, project reports. You name it, we have done it all. We even claimed the stairway as our own space for group study “just before” the exam. And nobody will be a better teacher than that one friend who crammed up six months worth of subject into our brains in the brief interval before the exam!
Even after enduring four years of my constant nagging, and most of my batchmates still refuse
to learn how to to spell my name properly! 😛 If the Harry Potter world were real, I am willing to bet that my Polyjuice Potion test would have everything to do with my misspelled name! The entire class was busy with pre-placement talks, placement drives, aptitude tests, CAT, GATE and all of that. We had placement drives lined up one after the other. We empathized and agonized over how big of a nuisance over-zealous neighbors and relatives can be. (Read more on that here!) Our last few days in college passed in a blur mostly overlooked all thanks to the looming deadlines for project submission, record submission, university exams and a host of other important stuff. We took creativity and exaggeration to new levels during our project presentation, course vivas, and interviews and lived to tell the tale. 😂
We had a host of farewell ceremonies – Sayanora and Hasta La Vista; none of which moved us to tears because the message was yet to sink in. When I was asked on stage to recount the happiest moment of my college life, I didn’t get much time to recount four years worth of memories, and I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind. However, I’d like to make a correction. My favourite moments are these – the birthday when my friends dropped in for a surprise visit, the 14 days of IV, the moment when we won the Sargam cup, every time Tissa sang (and even better, won prizes!), Aagneya, when I won 10k unexpectedly and so many more! The list is infinite. And yes, it is very difficult to pick out a single moment!
It has taken a long while for the message to sink in, and even longer for me to finally finish this post. It’s kind of hard to come to grips with the fact that life, as you had known for four years, is going to be over soon. I have been through hell and backward (read: Kerala University and other things), experienced the good and the bad, been through a lot together… all of which have ensured this much – friendships for a lifetime. It’s as though four years have passed by in the blink of an eye. College taught me not only electronics and communication but also life lessons that I’ll never forget. I miss my campus, my college days, my friends, juniors and all that craziness we created and shared!
But this is life. All good things must come to an end. I may no longer be a student, but once a GECBian, always a GECBian.
I know it’s a very long post. But even this post does no justice to the wonderful four years of my college life. Thank you if you have actually had the patience to read the post 🙂
Written in response to #Blogchatter Prompt: Down the memory lane
© 2017 Shweta Suresh. All rights reserved.