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?

*

On being skinny

People never stop reminding me how skinny I am. Often it’s the first thing they say when they meet me. That’s brand new information ma’am, thank you. People often assume that I don’t eat and offer me to stay and eat with them for a month or two in the name of goodwill. They sound very concerned as if making me fat is the only way to stop global warming. They sound very confident as if eating with them is miraculously going to change the way my body functions. I hesitate to go for lunch/dinner with such people because they are quick to point out – Look how little you eat! That’s why you are so thin! Here have some more. And more. And more. Because this one gigantic hugely uncomfortable dinner can obviously do what 9125 dinners in my life so far couldn’t.

Some people go on to suggest that I would look so much better if I just start eating bananas and milk every morning. Thank you for pointing out I am ugly. Some people ask me if I go to the gym. Some people ask why I should go to the gym at all (as I obviously don’t need to do). Some people say that they are jealous of how I don’t ever have to worry about my weight. Such a blessing, they are quick to add, you can eat whatever you want and still not gain a gram? Wish I was like you! Being like me means being called a skeleton, a coat hanger, a feather, and a stick figure. Some people also like to call me two dimensional. Some people assume I am sick and weak. I have grown up with these wonderful tags. Not just random strangers, my own family has used them for me.

But skinny girls don’t talk about being skinny because if they do, they are a bitch.

People with an average sense of humour remind me that I might disappear soon. People who once aspired to be doctors but ended up being dentists call me ‘malnourished’. Some people defend me by throwing terms like ‘high metabolism’. I don’t quite understand that and I am sure neither do they. Some people recommend I should take protein. I recommend they should fuck off. Some people think I should be a model. I think they should not be career counsellors. People who want to show off their above-average vocabulary call me ‘anorexic’. I want to show off my creative vocabulary and call them dumbtards.

For twenty five years, I have listened to the same shit wondering what the hell is wrong with my body. And God knows how long this is going to continue.

Listen buddy, I have tried eating more. It doesn’t work. Bananas give me headaches. Artificial protein is exactly what it is – artificial. Being skinny is not a blessing. And yes, I am underweight. I KNOW THAT. But did you notice that I am functioning fine? Hey! I am happy. I don’t get why you are so bothered. So instead of criticizing me why don’t you appreciate your own beautiful three-dimensional body, and get a fucking life. Comprenez?