Five Beautiful Days
I was very much excited in the evening of Tuesday, 24 July, as my parents and sister were going to come on wednesday to Bangalore. I put the alarm in the clock at 5:30AM and slept early. On wednesday, I woke up early and left for Kalasipalayam, where the Kallada travels bus from Irinjalakuda will be coming. I waited there till 7:30, but the bus didn't come. I enquired in the Kallada office, and they told that the bus from Irinjalakuda was canceled. I was worried and made phone calls to home, but it looked like out of order. I was very much worried. But then, suddenly, a Kallada bus came and I could see my mother smiling through its glass window. My father told me that the bus was canceled but they were taken to the bus starting from Thrissur.
It was almost 9 when we reached home. Fortunately, water was still coming in the pipe. My mother had brought roasted Pathrodo for me, and I had a nice breakfast. The house owner brought some tea in a flask, and I introduced my parents to her. They were tired due to bus journey and wanted to sleep. In the afternoon we went to Hotel Kailas Parvath and had food. My parents had never tasted north Indian food, so I asked them to try it. But they didn't like it.
In the evening we were ready to go to Madras. We started at around 8:30. We couldn't get meals anywhere in the hotels, so we took some Dosas and went to railway station. I could meet Jagadeesh and Srinivas in the station, but they were in a different compartment of the Chennai Mail. My parents had only traveled by general compartment before, and they were surprised to see the seat arrangements, the blankets and all provided by the railways. I could never forget the joy and happiness in their face in these little moments.
We reached Madras on thursday early morning. My friend Ranjith had reserved a hotel room for us in Adayar. My mother didnt support me in wasting money for auto rikshaw to go to Adayar. (Then I felt sad thinking of the money I was wasting here in Bangalore in things like junk movies, junk food etc.). So we waited for bus, went to Saidapet, from there to Adayar by another bus...A double room was reserved for us in "Hotel Stay and Tour Home" opposite Adayar bus stand, thanks to Ranjith. It was a nice room. I had to go to IIT for getting the gown and all for convocation. We had breakfast at hotel "Adayar Woodlands". As my parents also wanted to roam around in IIT, they also came with me. We walked to IIT, took the IIT bus. Got down at the Gajendra circle. I showed them the library, Open Air Theatre and Gurunath stores. After that I left for Godavari hostel, and my parents went back.
There was a big crowd in the hostel to collect the gown, and it took some time for the whole process. I could meet many of my classmates and friends there. After collecting the things, I went to Tapti hostel, met Shalu, Ajith Sir, Varadarajan Sir, Jinu, Krishna Mohan and Vinod. Due to severe water shortage, only few hostels were open and most of the classes were postponed. I think people from Brahmaputra hostel were moved to Tapti. When I walked through the corridors, common room, and in front of room no. 242 where I had stayed, I thought of my one and half years stay at IIT. I could see my torn name board still there on the door of my room. Looks like it is not occupied now.
I left my gown and stuff in Shalu's room and went to the department. I had lunch at staff canteen (The RBG was closed) and then met Manoj and Shenoi coming in bike. In DON Lab, I saw all things are rearranged, and only Hanuma and Kingsley were there whom I knew. Then I had some cool water from the cooler in the department office, met Sivasubramanium there, as I used to always. Went to UOP Lab, went to NLP Lab, had a chat with Reghuraj Sir, went to RTS lab and met Sardhi, Ranjith and Sisodia. Prof. Sivarama Murthy was assigned to receive Azim Premji (Wipro CEO, who was to be the chief guest for the convocation) from the airport, and Ranjith and Sisodia were to accompany them. They were excited about that. Ranjith told that Prof Murthy was searching in the internet on the previous day for a picture of Premji!
I was happy to meet Prof R Kalyana Krishnan, one of the most greatest teachers I have ever seen. I was fortunate to be his student for two courses. I could meet Prof Janaki Raman, Prof Raman and Ravichandran. My project guide Prof Hema A Murthy and Prof TAG were there in their office. I met them and we talked for almost half an hour. They asked about the work I was doing in Cisco. They also told me about the research oriented work they would be doing in the new company they are going to start and asked me whether I could join there. I told about my commitments in my present company. Also, I dont like Madras climate. Then I visited the new lab where all Indlinux people are sitting. I had a chat with Patricia. Then I thought of my days in DONLab. It was a great learning experience to do project with Madam and TAG.
We had convocation rehearsals in the evening. I was really impressed in the way the director Dr. Natarajan takes care of every small thing, including selecting the theme song for the Band etc. He is really great. It was around 8 when I reached the hotel room back after the rehearsals. I had taken packed food from hotel Vasanta Vihar for my parents. We had it and slept peacefully.
27th morning we had to get up early, as we had to reach IIT at 8. I wore the gown and things. My parents were seated in the gallery in the auditorium. I was surprised to see how neatly everything is organized. Premji reached at 9:30 and the convocation began after that. Premji's speech was good. I got my degree from Dr. Natarajan and a prize from Premji. We had few photo sessions among classmates and also with my parents. There was a big rush for returning the gown. Then we had to wait for a long one hour for the IIT Bus, and this was the only bad feeling of the day. It was very hot and all of us were very much tired. We waited for one hour, still the bus didnt come. Finally we walked to Velachery gate. We had to walk almost two kilometers in that terrible heat to get an auto rikshaw. Somehow we reached back the hotel room and fell on the bed.
When I came out of the IIT gate, lot of thoughts were going there in my mind. It was a great experience to be in the great institute. It has made tremendous impact in my life in all ways. I was fortunate to be the student of great teachers like Prof R Kalyana Krishnan, Prof Timothy Gonsalves, Prof SV Raghavan, Prof C Pandu Rangan, Prof D Janaki Ram, Prof Hema A Murthy and Prof Sreenivasa Kumar. All of these people have inspired me in one way or the other. It was in IIT that I experienced hostel and campus life for the first time. I got many of my best friends, like GT Nadiyan Selvam, Rajith Nair, B LavaKumar, Ranjith Gopalakrishnan, Shalu MA, Saifulla, Abhijit P Saraph, BS Manoj, Sivaselvan, Jagadeesh Arise from IIT. It was in IIT that I came to know ReghuRaj Sir more closely, even though he had taken many courses for me in Thrissur Engg. College. I could realize how great a person he is, in all aspects of life. I had my bad experiences as well. Living like camels in the Tapti hostel in the severe heat, with no water, all the tension I had to suffer during the courses... I feel everything in IIT made an impact on me. Now I know that the chances that I will enter the gate of the institute are very little. Also I know that my academic life has been officially ended, most probably. So that made me vaguely remember the rainy day of June, twenty one years back, when my father took me to the classroom with torn cream colored walls in Govt Lower Primary School, Irinjalakuda, to enroll me in the first standard. So many days have passed after that. Now I stand here, with my parents, leading the way out of the institute. I can feel the entire flow of life for all these days in my mind. I felt very sad that I will never be a child again, holding the fingers of my father with my hand, and waiting for the school bells to ring to run back home and tell my mother and sister all that happened during the day.
In the evening we started at 8PM, Had a nice meal from Saravana Bhavan in Parrys. It was the first time I was taking food from there. Nice meal it was. We came back by Bangalore mail, reached Bangalore early morning on saturday. I had planned to take my parents the Shivganga hill on that day, but I wondered whether it will be too tiring for them. My mother had other ideas. She wanted to buy stove and other cooking equipments and setup the kitchen for me. So we went to Noble stores and bought all stuff. At 2PM we could have our lunch!. How nice a lunch it was, with rice and tomato curry. We went to Lalbhag in the evening and took some photographs.
On sunday we spent at home only. It was raining in the evening. I took my parents and sister to Kalasipalayam back. There I stood in the rain, alone, watching the Kallada travels Bus disappearing at the end of the road. Then I came back, alone, through the double road, crossing the fly over, in front of Kailas Parvath Hotel, through Swasthi Road, finally entered my room. When I opened the room I remembered just some time back how I had closed it, and my mother had asked me to verify whether it is properly locked. Seeing the tiny water drops in the wash basin, I felt how some time back they were washing their faces in that. Entering the kitchen, seeing how things are properly arranged, how some Upuma was kept in the plate for my dinner, seeing the chairs where my parents were sitting just an hour ago, a long gray hair here and there, how the umbrella was kept in a tilted fashion... All made me think of the beautiful five days I had and then I felt being lonely, very lonely at that moment in the vast earth.