To become an Engineer,
you become a rat first.
Then you become a robot
you try to learn from the great minds of the past
Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Heisenberg
you try to learn all the fancy concepts
chemical bonds, optics, mechanics, electricity
theories after theories,
equations after equations…
if you are lucky,
if you are the selected few,
who instinctively knew,
you may dream of being a human again.
Two years of struggle;
They will lie it’s the hardest you will ever go through
no TV, no cable, no internet
your friends – your books, your pens,
your daily practice sheets
then the D day comes
with its gigantic stamp
You, to score 130 are smart
you, to score 129 are dumb
unless you have a quota,
in that case, you will do just fine.
Congratulations, you’ve somehow made it.
You have officially entered paradise.
The two years you spent preparing for a “good ” engineering college,
they forgot to tell you what an engineer is
four years you are going to learn engineering
they will again forget to tell you what an engineer is.
Semesters after semesters,
as you get introduced to new theories, new formulae, and new ways of life
there is Laplace transformation,
and there is your transformation too-
a drastic one
red eyes, and long hair,
you listen to Pink Floyd now
you write poetries on a breezy day
dream of love and loss and romance
and meanwhile they blame you for your “wrong” habits,
for your slipping grades,
for your stupid questions,
for your stupid silence,
for your lack of respect,
for everything that is wrong with your life,
and everything that is wrong with their lives too.
But they can’t be blamed for the most important thing they forgot to teach
the most important thing that the internet and books can’t teach
empathy, motivation, inspiration, a dream.
No, No, No,
too easy to blame it on the system
too easy to blame it on them
so you blame it on yourself
convince yourself you are not worth it-
there’s always that one student;
who kills himself or definitely tries to,
convinced that he is not good enough,
convinced that he is not worthy to live.
You ignore all these.
There is still nothing wrong with our education system of course.
You continue mugging up theories
that you vomit later on the answer sheets,
That somehow tells you whether you are an engineer or not.
But was it not about understanding how nature works?
Was it not about building cool creative stuff?
Was it not about being an artist of machines?
We were supposed to help humanity
and all we learnt was
to make money the fastest way.
Chasing numbers after numbers,
Chasing milestones after milestones,
Where was love?
I only saw desperation
I only saw insecurity.
And next thing you know
is that there are some lame ass people
from some lame-ass companies judging you
whether you are good enough to be exploited.
some people see through your bullshit and tell you to fuck off right away
some people see through your bullshit and tell you to fuck off after you are hired.
It’s a cause for celebration
Welcome to paradise.
No, welcome to corporate slavery.
Where you would wonder why politics wasn’t taught in your foundational course,
where you would wonder why you wake up at all,
mornings after mornings,
weeks after weeks,
months after months,
for your work to be done, and your efforts to be ignored eventually.
Grey roads & grey cubicles & grey screens,
the client who doesn’t stop complaining,
and the manager who doesn’t stop explaining,
And you are surviving to save a few digits in your bank account
while the company’s soaring profits suck your soul away.
That’s what your education has come down to,
making rich people richer, and poor people poorer,
while you frantically swim somewhere in between.
Ignoring everything that is going on in the world, in your life
because who has time for that? Who has energy for that?
Keep swimming, keep running.
And don’t you forget you are still a rat.
I am not an engineer anymore,
just a degree holder
(for which I didn’t even get any graduation)
‘God! you are such a cliche.’
The best you can do with your degree now is
to cut them into small pieces
and make roaches out of them.
Actually, that’s not the best thing I can do,
the best thing I can do is to roll the whole thing and kill cockroaches
and say that I use my degree to kill cockroaches.
‘Is that a metaphor?’ you ask. ‘You obviously mean the cockroaches of the society, right?’
No, cockroaches. Actual cockroaches.
I’d like to crush them with this symbolic representation of my education.
Just like my degree crushed me,
my confidence, my esteem, my self-worth.
By the way,
Why did you want to be an Engineer anyway?’
I don’t know my friends thought it was cool,
my parents thought that it was the future,
it wasn’t though
it was their convenience
and mine too.
I became an engineer
because there was nothing else I could do
too smart to be an artist
too impatient to be a doctor
too ignorant to be a lawyer
And then I failed.
They tell me it’s because I didn’t study
But it’s not the exams I am talking about.
It’s not the grades I am talking about,
but my identity attached to these numbers,
All my milestones turned out to be mirages!
There’s no end to the race –
it’s just an ego-centric survival technique,
a sham, a delusion but very much real.
There’s always something you need to do
to keep up your status quo,
and if you try to escape,
you will question your own sanity.
Maybe I will move on.
Maybe I won’t.
Maybe all the stupid conditioning will wear off.
Maybe it won’t.
And maybe they will realise-
that they are educators, mentors, and role models,
not mere lecturers
or judgmental parrots asking us to repeat what they have been repeating
for ages without a single question
Maybe someday they will finally ask
What the fuck are we teaching our youth anyway?
Or maybe, most probably, they won’t.
But will you?
One thought on “How (not) to be an Engineer”
Sadly, this is largely true for a great percentage of the engineers our country is producing…brings out the angst many feel…