|Main Building of IITR|
The news of my selection at Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee came as a surprise to my family members they never expected a positive result in an exam (JEE) which has a cruel selection ratio of just 1% (among 5 lakh candidates)!
Roorkee, a small yet congested town in Haridwar district, juxtaposed beside the Ganga canal (built by the British in 1800's) lies in the foothills of Himalayas. Also famous for one of the oldest Army Cantonment in country with headquarters of the Bengal Engineer group (remnants of British Indian Bengal Army) Roorkee hasn't grown much around the IIT despite harboring almost 10,000 students in the small green campus.
Spanned across 450 acres the clean and green campus of IIT Roorkee is protected from city pollution and highway traffic. Previously known as Thomason College of Civil Engineering (founded in 1845 to help train engineers for the construction of the Ganges Canal) and then University of Roorkee, this main building dates back to the British era.
My first steps in the city were on a sweltering summer afternoon. Admission procedures ate up the whole day due to unnecessary paperwork. Even after a decade gone by converting into an IIT, the antediluvian standards of University functioning still prevails.
Sacrificing my afternoon naps and attending classes in those 45 degrees days of July August were equally excruciating as getting up those foggy 4 degrees bone chilling winters in December January.
Situated in a small town, we students wandered a lot in the food streets Uttarakhand to satisfy our taste buds and quench the homesickness. Sipping cheap awful beers (realization after coming to Belgium) near the Solani river Ghats watching the serene sunsets, lip-smacking chai pakoras at Alpahar and University Canteen whilst bunking classes were some of the best moments I remember.
Lectures, assignments, tests, practicals, facing neurotic professors was a daily affair but all that never became a defining venture during my college life. The cycling trips besides the canal, evening jogs around campus, afternoon football with friends in hostel lobbies or gardens, the late-night hunger hunger driven trips to the Bus-T, the unforgettable exclusive cheese-maggi of Govind Bhawan were the things that kept me sane for the 5 whole years.
Having explored all nuances around the R-land, be it River rafting and Bungee jumping at Rishikesh, snow escapades in Auli and Shimla, hiking around the ethereal woods or trekking in the lush green mountains of Mussorie, time flew by with ease.
5 years, 10, semesters, 72 courses, 198 exams and innumerable night-outs for those mundane procrastinated assignments were a journey I would not have completed without my friends. In a nutshell, this campus gave me much more practical life lessons than my course on Physics, leaving me with a constant desire to excel among the best.
With this note, I bid adieu to my Alma Mater with high regards and respect for everyone and everything that shaped and influenced me in this chapter of life.
(currently pursuing my Masters in Nuclear Fusion at Ghent University, you can reach me via Gaurav.Shroff@UGent.be)