Sunday, July 29, 2007

End Of The IIT,Kanpur Blog

Today I am gonna delete my other blog - Life at IIT,Kanpur . I have reproduced two of the best posts from there . Reading them now, I realise that I have been bashing my college quite unashamedly . The suicide-post is fraught with emotion , or so some ppl have told me . The other one is my reaction to the unbelievable number of exams we have to undertake here .

  • Friday, April 13, 2007


    DISCLAIMER:These are strictly my personal views, those of a person who has spent less than a year here at IITK.Views on the academic system here may vary from person to person.

    Here at IITK , we have some of the best brains (supposedly) of the country studying---and quite a lot of them leave the institute after four or five years with a degree and very little more.Yes, there are quite a few of them who make the most of their stay here and leave IITK with tears in their eyes and a lot of memories in their minds.Hmm.....i shudnt get started on the different type of ppl who live here....let me get to the point. WE HAVE A FUCKEN HUGE NUMBER OF EXAMS AND A PATHETIC GRADING SYSTEM TO SCREW US MORE.First up, let me talk abt the grading system here- we have 5 different grades possible for each subject-A(10);B(8);C(6);D(4);F(2).
    IN ALL THE OTHER IIT's, the grading system is 10,9,8,7,6,5,4 and 2.As a result of this kind of a grading system here, what happens is that two students who have worked for varying amounts of time and have highly different marks get the same grade.For example, in my first semester here, a chap who got 50 marks and another who got 79, both got D in MTH101.The chap who scored 50 marks will be happy of course, but the guy who got 79 will obviously tend to get frustrated from the sheer unfair nature of the grading.APART FROM THIS, what also happens is that the average CPI also goes down.A student from IITM who has below average CPI might actually end up having higher CPI than an above average student from IITK.But the people outside the IIT's aint gonna know all this............

    Now, coming to the exams part, let me first talk about some other IIT's(info is based purely on word of mouth):
    IITM: In each semester, the students there have to go through two sets of major quizzes and one set of End-Sem exams.From what my friend there says, the chaps there have time for loads of cultural activity(he attends three lit events every week) and to play sports and what not.
    IITB: These ppl have one mid-sems and end-sems.And i have also heard that their cult fest is the best in the country.
    IIT, Kharagpur and IITG also have a system somewhat similar to that of IITB.

    Ah....IITK, here i come.
    Coming to the end of my second semester here, the first semester seems almost like an extended vacation in comparison.We did a hell a lot of stuff in our first sem......playing various sports like baddy,footie,tennis,t.t till 5 in the morning sometimes and sometimes further than that.We had innumerable "bhulla" sessions,where we discussed everything from biscuits to business;playboy to placements.....by gawd, i dont remember ever having laughed as much as i did in those days...but i do remember rolling on the ground in laughter.I did bunk classes a bit in first sem as well, but no where near as much as i have in second sem.The main reason is that I had time for myself even after attending all those lectures....some quality time during which needn't have to necessarily do something "purposeful".True, not having a lappy then meant that i had a bit lesser distraction....but i personally feel, lappy or not, this is the way i would have been now.
    IN SECOND SEM, we have only 17 credits, where as we had 21 in the first.But the workload only seems to have increased.We have weekly quizzes in batthi(electronics).And our batch specially has quizzes in almost every other physics tutorial session, where the tutor is more enthusiastic than the students are about the quizzes.I remember on occasion when he announced on a thursday that there would be an hour-long quiz(on a huge, huge portion of the textbook) on tuesday--he counted the days in between on his fingers and told us, with a beaming smile, that we had four days to prepare.If it was not for the fact that he has quite a lot to do with our grades, i would have immediately stood up and questioned him on that last statement of his. We had MEGABUCKS- the entrepreneurship fest of IITK over three of those four days, starting on that thursday and folding up on sunday.I had registered for a workshop which took away two days-thursday and friday.On the next two days, i played in two tiring cricket matches, which took away saturday and sunday.Monday remaining- 4days worth portions to study.........And so it is that, we have atleast two quizzes almost every week and most chaps will be preparing for one or the other.Add to all this the weekly T.A. lab and the T.A homework, apart from the batthi lab and its lab report.Oh yeah, we are given out assignments as well, in maths,physics and batthi, meant to be done sincerely by the student on the day when it is given.ALL THIS AND WE HAVE NOT EVEN REACHED THE BEST PART YET.
    We have something here called the mid-sems here, which induce, among others, paranoia,temporary memory loss, personality disorder,acute sense-loss,etc. NO, i am not talking about the end-sems yet.You will see chaps here studying at 4 o' clock in the morning, walking in the corridor, below the tubelight, who wouldn't notice if a tornado passed by nearby.
    I've personally seen guys waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning--didnt even step down from the cot.....woke up, took the book near his pillow(pre-planning??) and start reading. AND WE HAVE TWO OF THESE.
    WHEN THE END SEMS are still a month away, people start talking of it.And when the end-sems are about 29 days away, they start studying......as the days go by, the tempo increases.....with ten days to go for the end-sems--a friend of mine says that his wing looks like as if someone has died there and there is a state of mourning.Each is in his own custom-made zombie-like state of mugging.



    P.S....all said and done, i still have a rocking time out here, for there is enough freedom here to set your own priorities and live accordingly.........true, ur cpi might get screwed a bit this way, but if u r happy living like that, who cares anyways...

  • Monday, April 30, 2007


    It must have began quite a long time back. Probably in his eighth standard or something! Maybe even in the same coaching institutes that some of us have studied in. Now, I don't know if Jay Bharadwaj studied in Matrushri or Sharma or even if he took coaching from eighth standard itself, but what I do know is that he committed suicide by placing his head on the railway track at the entrance of IITK. It was the second suicide since I came here last year and the fourth in less than 16 months. Feelings are varied on the campus and debates and discussions are being carried out in corridors and rooms, but for the most part , NOTHING is being DONE actively.
    I had just written my physics exam and come back to the hostel. With a plate full of food and an empty stomach , I sat down to have my lunch as one of my friends plonked down opposite and said,"rey, bharadwaj chanipoyadu anta ra.....adhe ra, aarozu ACA (andhra cultural association) lo kalisamu chudu..."("hey, remember bharadwaj, the chap who talked to us that day...heard he has committed suicide!"). I didnt remember the poor soul then and neither do I now, but I DID feel sick to my stomach from the sad news and I returned my plate of food almost untouched. Some guys sitting nearby were laughing and joking about the suicide and calling Bharadwaj a coward and what not. HAVE WE BECOME SO MATERIALISTIC THAT WE DONT CARE IF ANOTHER STUDENT FROM THE SAME COLLEGE , A CHAP WHO HAS GONE THROUGH THE SAME THINGS THAT WE ARE GONNA TOMORROW,...DIES??? Over the next two days , I saw more students joking and laughing about the incident, while I wondered what his thoughts must have been while waiting for the train!

    I have since come to know that he had been extensively browsing sites on how to commit suicide for the past one month. Pity. And what followed his death was even more pitiful -
    An e-mail was sent to all the students announcing the "tragic event".
    A condolence meeting was announced. IT WAS A JOKE. The director came on stage and read out the e-mail that he had sent earlier, mentioned Bharadwaj's tenth and twelfth class marks and concluded with a thank you. THAT WAS IT.the condolence meeting was over, even as most of bharadwaj's friends were just arriving. PATHETIC.
    The HoD of the civil department, in which Bharadwaj studied, gave out a statement to the tune of ," He was JUST an average student. " Was this boys life so dispensable, so forgettable that we do not even want to mourn him? Is ANY life dispensable? I dont know what HE mean't, but not many students are surprised.This new HoD of the civil dept here, Professor CVR Murthy, is seen as an idealist for whom nothing less than perfection will do. I've heard that he was a dhussa (ten pointer ) for ten semesters straight and that even his wife ran away with one of his PhD students unable to bear him.
    The much-talked about three-tiered counselling service here is in reality, only a front. The three tiers are supposed to be the student guide, the faculty counsellor and the college shrink. We don't have anything to do with the faculty counsellors, except inviting them to our hall day and some cultural events, which many students look upon as waste of money, as we have to provide them dinner as well. The shrink visits the college once in a while and an e-mail is sent to this regard, which is deleted by the majority of the students without being read.
    Oh yeah, we've got this new ANXIETY HELPLINE as well. Ten professors or so are available for counselling 24/7. But, say a guy is sitting lonely and depressed in his room....what are the chances he is gonna go and look up the number of the anxiety helpline on the notice board and make a call to a prof? Would he be able to complain abt one prof to another?? Talk about his deepest feelings to someone whom he hardly knows and is a prof as well???

    I have heard that one more suicide was attempted yesterday, but that he was saved. And I heard some students commenting that this fella must have probably not made enough research on suicide.Some of them were even discussing about the better ways in which he could have died.
    HOLY SHIT!!!

    I DONT SAY SUICIDE IS RIGHT, but we should examine the reasons which led him to death. And we should act, act fast.The grading system can be changed, for starters. Any student who has to repeat a course he doesn't like at all for three or four times is bound to get frustrated and depressed.

    An excerpt from a blog written by a friend of a student who almost committed suicide:

    “No, finally she didn’t jump. One professor courageously called out to her from his window and asked her to move away from the tank. She heeded that call, maybe even at that point she could not think of defying a professor. I wonder what all went through her mind? Who can tell? She must not have been more than 20 years old... maybe even younger.

    “Her parents refused to let her drop a semester. After all she was a success; she had no right to fail. She tried harder. Her mother stayed with her. Finally they took her back and let her drop the semester. Her friends were happy that they were not weaklings like her. I haven’t seen her around since then. This successful place (IIT Kanpur) has a remarkable capacity to block failures out. She is not missed.

    “But I am still shaken. I don’t want to end up there, no matter what, whether I am successful or not. I want to slow down. And I want to get out of this ‘successful’ place. It is so lonely; it has such little tolerance for people like her, and perhaps for people like me. I feel trapped in my success.…”

    #end of excerpt#

    Another excerpt :

    A reputed educationist and counsellor, Dr Amrita Das, maintains that perhaps not many realise that today students are swimming in a different ocean than the one in which their parents swam. It is not marks alone that matter now, it is important to have a smart mind too. That comes from participating in extra-curricular activities, nurturing creative hobbies, spending time with friends and learning social skills. In other words, by letting children just be. It is not only IQ but also better EQ (emotional quotient) that counts today.

    A request that a student had made at a counselling session continues to haunt Dr Das. “This young girl told me ‘please tell our parents to also remind us of our competencies and not just of competitions’.”

    #end of excerpt#

    Jay Bharadhwaj was from Hyderabad, from Ramaiah institute---which makes him connected to some of us in a minute fashion.Last year, 50,000 students wrote JEE in hyderabad.Total was 3 lakh in India.Doesn't this tell something???I've also heard that quite a few students who committed suicide in IIT's were from Andhra.....weird coincidence???

    I have got some suggestions, but i am pretty sure none of them will be enforced anywhere in the near future.....

  • The no. of mid-sems can be reduced to one.
  • Compulsory attendance be enforced in lectures, of say 70 % or so.
  • Amount of gaming be controlled.
  • Some useless,unnecessary courses be scrapped.Phy lab and chem lab to name some.
  • Most of the tutors are useless and hence, the tutes are a waste of time we can't afford.It will be nice to see tutes being scrapped, but since THAT won't happen ever....I say they be reduced.

Coming to the end of this post, I have a request for all of you......We as Indians have to stop treating college children as babies and try to control what they can do and cannot do. Let them make their mistakes and let them learn.Please tell your relatives and friends who have great expectations from their sons to let go of their children, let them dream of their own......I wonder how many sportsmen,singers,artists we have lost just because some fathers failed in becoming engineers, and wanted their sons to fulfill their dreams.

DISCLAIMER: A lot is based on hear-say.....I didn’t mean to offend anyone by this post. If I did, I apologize. Its just so frustrating to see young lives wasted like this.

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