Engineering, something Indians do before they even decide to do something with their life. Really, I am not kidding. Engineering, of late has become more like an insurance policy. Parents be like “Son, first *get* a degree and then do what you want. Atleast you will have a backup option”.
My humanities professor once asked us, a group no more than 60, whether we chose to pursue a degree in engineering *just like that* or was it really our passion. More than half the class raised their hands up in exasperation having a story to tell otherwise. Yes I know, the annoying rant about how many engineers exist in our country and the declining jobs available is quite clichéd. But how and why the current student pool transforms into the calculator-and-drafter carrying people is often left untouched. Let’s take a look.
1. Starts with the casual ‘concentrate on maths and science comment’
Son, bring get an A1 in Maths and Science and you’ll get your (not so casual). Suddenly, Science and Maths becomes so important and your languages and the other subjects are of the least importance.
2. Undermining of your sports and cultural achievements
Sports and cultural activities take a backseat. And each time you tell your mom you’re going out to play, you receive a frown full of disgust, you’d think you’re a rat for a moment.
3. The neighbor’s son becomes the benchmark.
Sharmaji’s prodigal son. He will always be better than you and will be the trump card of many heated conversations, if not the cause. You’re grades won’t matter, his will. In addition to this there’s more pressure if you’ve got cousins from the IITs or NITs.
4. Your friends become bad company.
“Aaa yedavala tho tiragoddu ani cheppa kadaaa!” your mom’s favourite line.
5. Long lectures on life, ambition and purpose.
Crack a joke and you’ll be lectured. Talk to friends on phone for an hour and you’ll be lectured. Come home late from a movie… and here you go!
6. The dropping of the engineering-is-life bomb.
10th grade. The moment when your father tells you about your family friend’s son or a cousin staying in U.S.A and say “Look at him, he did engineering in America and now he rides a BMW”. Since then the DECISION about your further studies is under their control!
7. The stare.
Too much television, The stare. Come home late, The stare again. Close your books before 11, the staring continues. Basically, you get The stare for each of the mistakes you make which defy the study rules.
8. MPC and Computers in Junior college.
(The world’s your oyster, really.)
The time you decide what you want to do in life, you can be anything. You have all the choices in the world. Engineer or doctor, they ask you. You say engineering because biology is hard, and voila! Congratulations, math physics and chemistry with computer science.
9. Shipping you off to a hostel for IIT prep or a weekend coaching class.
Now that you’re on board with the engineering plan, you’ll need to set a goal, and it will be set for you. IIT. The next thing you know, you’re either on a bus to a Sunday class or to a hostel. Goodbye late-morning Sundays and homemade hot chicken.
You may have wanted to take commerce, and that would have been the very reason why you were brainwashed XD. You ended up taking science.
10. Burning the midnight oil.
8 hours of sleep becomes a long lost dream just like your playstation. Long hours in the day and even more slogging in the night. There is one upside though; you get to wish your friends at midnight.
At the end of the day, after all that hard work, more than half of the country’s students don’t get what they aimed for, and end up settling for the ‘next best’ option. This is the story of many engineers today.
Southie : Akshay Kolli