There comes a time in every person’s life when he/she has to take a major lifestyle influencing decision.
The stage is set. It’s the first week of Nov. 2015. The end sem exams are in full swing. I look at the distraught faces of most of my fellow “to-be engineers” and see nothing but regret and despair.
If only I had known that there were 14 chapters… Damn… I knew I should have started reading the text book atleast 3 days before the exam.. One night, Hmm… Mushkil hai, Namumkin Nahi [Tough, but not impossible] Pass to ho hi jaunga… [I’ll surely get through] [+ mindless hypothetical calculations about what grade to expect]
On my way to the exam block, I meet with my HOD to discuss some work when he ask’s me about what I’m planning for my vacations. Should I tell him that I plan to hibernate through the whole winter like polar bears 😀 , a chuckle creeps in my mind. So, I tell him that I had applied to a few places. He listens intently, then tells me to apply at some IIITs [Indian Institute of Information Technology]. IIIT-H and IIIT, Silk City as I had heard it. Continuing to the exam hall, the only thing I could think of was “IIIT Silk City”. I never knew such an institute existed and I was pretty sure of it since Bhagalpur [Silk City] was my home. Pondering on my thoughts, I reach the hall and ask my few close friends if they knew of such an institute. Nope. [Only later during the application would I realise that it was actually IIIT Sri City.] Fast forward a week or so and with all the nitty gritty stuff done, the only thing left was for me to chose between a hibernation through winter while gulping down recipes of mom or going to a place I didn’t even know existed a week back and working in the vacations. I knew it was a great opportunity to go there and work with one of the best people in the business. Even though the decision at one point seemed easy, it was only getting tougher. At one point, I even think of taking the Jury Room, inspired by TVF’s Pitchers [we all loved that show didn’t we 😁] Taking a huge Leap of Faith [Assassin’s Creed 😉] out of my comfort zone, I decided to go for it. The exams ended and the journey commenced.
Now, before I discuss my itinerary, I have to confess that I’m an Air India fanboy!! [stop staring 😛] So, if there exists even a slightest possibility of flying The Maharajah, I don’t pass on it. As such I’m a member of the FF program, which to be honest is one of the best among airlines operating the domestic sector. If you too like to fly Air India, I would strongly recommend becoming a member of the FF program, which is completely free [yes, you heard that right, FREE 😛] and offers some really good perks. I took the flight out of Aizawl with a few of my friends, who were all leaving for their homes. It was an Airbus A-319 aircraft and we were served with snacks on board. In the best part of an hour, we were in the City of Joy.
The NSCBI Airport was bustling with people and I bid goodbye to my friends at baggage claim. With a heavy heart [the feeling of not going home] and a fear[only slight… 😛] of the unknown, I went up to the departures scouting for stuff to play time. The evening fog [smog] had kicked in but the last streaks of sun light still lit up the horizon.
With the best part of 2 hrs in hand, I decided to scavenge the terminal. I got myself something to drink and headed straight for the book shop. I got myself Orhan Pamuk’s critically acclaimed novel “The Strangeness in my Mind”. Saw few other things including the Audi Q3 [stunning curves]. Oh, and BTW, the Q3 was up for grabs in the powerball lottery.
The flight to Chennai was supposed to be of 2 hrs but due to some turbulent weather, the approach was delayed a bit. We literally flew through a thunder storm which was nerve wrecking to say the least. Landed at Chennai at ~21.00 hrs. Since Sri City was abt 2 hrs[~70 km] away, I had planned to set up camp for the night in Chennai itself. I had booked a room on OYO Rooms for myself. I was a bit reluctant while booking the OYO, but to my surprise it was even better than I had ever expected. You get all the facilities you would in a much costlier 4/5 star hotel at a nominal tariff + you get a complimentary breakfast. Did I say free WiFi.. I would strongly recommend OYO Rooms to anyone looking for a premium stay in a budget.
Even though it was raining cats and dogs in Chennai, I guess I was lucky and didn’t have to deal with the rain. Got a good night’s sleep and left for Sri City the next morning. I reached the institute in abt 2 hrs and got the day off to rest and set up myself for my work.
That’s about it for this part. Part-II of this journey would be published in the later weeks where I would talk about my work and stay at IIIT Sri City and also about the people I met and how some of them have now become extremely important to me.
See you on the next one… #C’est La Vie