How (not) to be an Engineer

To become an Engineer
you become a rat first
then you become a hard drive
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 the paradise.

Really?
No.

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
they will blame you for your “wrong” habits,
for you slipping grades,
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 you
Character, motivation, inspiration, a dream.

No, No, No,
too easy to blame it on the system
so blame it on yourself
convince yourself you are not worth it-
there’s always that one student,
who kills himself or definitely tries to,
there is still nothing wrong with our education of course.
You continue mugging up theories
that you vomit later on the answer sheets,
After all those grades tell you if you are an engineer or not.
They mostly tell you how well you cheated.
Or in case, you are one of those good ones,
they tell you how well you licked a book.
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.
at best.
Chasing numbers after numbers.
Chasing meaningless milestones after another.
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.

Two results:
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.

Really?
No, welcome to corporate slavery.

I am not an engineer anymore,
just a degree holder
(for which I didn’t even get any graduation)
They say
‘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 it 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 like to crush them with my degree.
Just like my degree crushed me,
my confidence, my esteem, my self-worth.

‘But hey,
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 cool too,
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
I agree.
But it’s not the exams I am talking about.
All my milestones were mirages.
My ego-centric survival technique, a sham
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, role models,
not mere lecturers
or a malfunctioning judgmental Google.
Maybe someday they will ask
What the fuck are we teaching our youth anyway?

Or maybe, most probably, they won’t.
But will you?

*

Hasta la vista Losers!

So, it has finally happened. The thing that I have been waiting for since the last four years is right there in the palm of my hands ready to be pocketed. Thing I have hated from the bottom of my heart is ultimately vanishing. And all I am going to be left with are some memories which are going to grow fewer and more rare with each passing day. Isn’t it amazing?

Isn’t it?

No?

NO?

It’s not fair how the most awaited thing of your life ends up disappointing you. While my heart should have been jumping up and down, whooping with ecstasy, it is growing heavier with every breath I take. I don’t get it. The insides of my heart are becoming more or less like a dam blocking the whole reservoir of emotions from flooding my entire body. It’s raining and raining and I know someday, I am going to drown in this inevitable inundation of feelings.

What am I going to miss?

Friends? Classes? Funny teaching assistants?  Practical labs? Canteen?  So much vella time? What?

It’s not done brain!  I thought we agreed that none of us are going to grow sentimental about this. I thought we had a deal. Why the fuck are you breaking it?

But don’t you see, turquoise ink!” says my brain in an attempt to defend himself, “that in these years of stagnancy, ironically, so many things have changed! Look at you! Look at me! Look at the memories we have made! I am not doing this intentionally! Damn it! I am not deceiving you! I am just so helpless.

Huh. Traitor.

ihateyou

What do I say? What do I write?

I am tired. I am tired. I am tired of growing and I want to revert it back. I am tired of struggling to swim across my emotions. I am tired of happiness. I am tired of hope. And I am tired of anticipating the unknown. You wanted my naked emotions? Here they are! I am scared shitless. And I want it all to stop. You wanted me to be despondent. Look here I am heart! Morose. Pessimistic. Hopeless. In a weird state of mind where the right words are just not coming out.

How do I say how do I feel?  Sadness has always rendered me speechless and in an acute awareness of the fact that my vocabulary isn’t good.

One might expect me to write an ode to these four years. But I can’t do it. There is no ode. There is no symphony. There are no lyrics or music.  All I have is an ugly mixture of  chaos, confusion, disappointment, anxiety, panic attacks, happiness, late night rainfalls of tears, lots of laughter, lots of irrelevant knowledge, a little of relevant knowledge, infinite sleepless nights, loads of hung-over afternoons, memories of unplanned trips, memories of planned trips, some unforgettable dialogues, some unforgettable quotes from late night conversations, the pleasure of watching some of  the most amazing movies for the first time, some deeply embedded tunes of most beautiful songs, some of the funniest live actions, awareness of individualism,  starvation for freedom, haunting questions, philosophical discussions, falling in love, getting heartbroken, realizing the dreams, un-realizing the dreams, change of perception, consistency of soul, realization of friendship, realization of connection, anger outbursts, a little of regret, a little of hope, a little of fear and a lot of lessons that I am not even aware that I have learnt. I have found beauty in the ugliness. How do I describe it all in a bunch of fucking rhyming words?

How do I do it?

Self absorbed as I am, I think I am sinking in the pool of my own reflections. While I have tried my best to spread the happiness around me wherever I am, what have I done to myself?  While I have been such a loud advocate of “living in the moment” kind of lifestyle, why am I lagging behind the time? While I have such casually cried out loud “no regrets”, what have I been repenting?

So detached and yet so adhered.

And here I thought college was just about some fun studying, a bit of partying and eventual career building. Huh! I don’t need to know how wrong I had been.

This could have been a gratitude letter for my friends. But they already know that I am thankful to them. They already know that I love them. Fuck gratitude letter. Fuck “I am going to miss these days” pieces of sentimental crap. You say “These were the best days you were ever going to have” So what are you implying?  I should just die now? Since the best is over?  What we ignore about the “end” is that though it is one distasteful concoction of lasts, it is also a gateway to the more exciting blend of “firsts”.

“But still”, you would argue, “it is a little sad, don’t you think?” Well, of course it is! I am going to miss it, yes. The people I have met, the things I have done.  It’s been marvelous.We have all touched each other’s lives in such a delicately beautiful manner that it’s really hard to believe these connections exist for real.I could have made this all about them but I don’t want to ignore this person I know. I do not want her to make false assumption that her life is over. And I am extremely sensitive about her because I know. I know how hard it is for her to walk through life. I know how she struggles. I know how things haven’t been perfect for her, and that’s why this is my earnest effort to let her know that it is okay. And if there is nobody else to tell you this, then you should know that I am here, inside your fucking head to tell you that you are one crazy person to live with but dude! I am stuck with you so I am going to be there for you anyway. And whenever you are going to shatter apart into million pieces again, I will pick each one of them every time and you would never be alone even if you are alone.

There!  That is the college ending gift for you, turquoise ink. You- yourself. Be whoever you want to be.

You fear that you are going to screw up big time with this big responsibility. Then, be it. Screw it all up. I don’t care. We will find something amazing anyway.

Don’t have faith; don’t have hope, fuck it. Don’t have anything. Be as much as the sentimental assholic drama queen as you can be, but I am going to live with you and pick you up and drag you to our land of dreams anyway.

Four years, and I realize that I am not an engineer after all. But instead I have realized that I am an individual. And considering the fact that some people don’t get that for their whole lives, I think I have done pretty good.

Signing off as self absorbed as I can be, getting sentimental for all the peculiar reasons, bidding adieu to college yelling – Ghanta engineering!
Hasta La vista Losers!

Love and lots of Gandugiri,
Theturquoiseink