Unexpected Stuff That Goes Down At IITB:

Dull.
Humourless.
Probably the first words that come to mind when we imagine the visage of IITians. Come to think of it, what could this bunch of nerds, who did absolutely nothing but mug textbooks, cram formulae and twist their spines pouring over exquisite manuscripts that promised them entry into the most sought-after technical institutes in the country, ever do anything else but repeat the same routine all over again?

Welcome, guys and girls, as we get behind the scenes of one of the most distorted pictures modern society has ever painted (and it has painted quite a LOT of them!). Lend thine ear to an IITian, and allow him to tell his side of the tale.

Basically, many of you reading this article will be IIT/NIT/BITS aspirants. Although I myself speak exclusively of IITB, I think the same applies for NITs or BITS as well. And you might as well learn about the life you are choosing to pursue relentlessly, beforehand! So here goes.

Nerds. Bores. Bookworms. That is how society and outside world generally look upon us. I did, too. Well, once upon a time. Not any longer. This is one perception that will be forcefully shattered once you set foot into IIT. People here are multi-talented. And amongst this infinitude of talent, the infectious enthusiasm for life will take you by surprise, making you do things you never thought you would indulge in. I used to play keyboard as a hobby but I got my first taste of performing in front of an audience, as part of a band, soon enough. This is one best parts of life here at IITB. It may seem like an exaggeration but it is indeed ‘The Land of Opportunities’. Pick up an art-form, practice your heart out and see how that skill sticks with you for life. There’s something for everyone here. All that is required to excel are will and dedication. The multitude of clubs ensures a colourful atmosphere throughout the year. Throughout, that is, except before mid-sems and end-sems. Then, this place is like necropolis, to say the least!

Well, the fun kicks off the moment you enter the campus as one of the 1000-odd teenagers privileged to be getting admitted here. Upon our entry, for example, we were pranked by seniors who were from the BBC crew. We were given some pieces of information, that aroused excitement in some corners, downright disgust in others, and trying-to-look-sincere-but-actually-creeping-everybody-out kind of looks. We just couldn’t stop laughing when we actually looked at the naivety on our faces, and the gangly mannerisms we all displayed when we entered here!

The fun ride continues with getting to know your neighbours, your wingies and floor mates. I refer to them as wingies just for the sake of this article because otherwise they are my family away from family. However reserved or lonesome you might be, you can’t help but get attached to your wingies. Ice-breaker events will thaw the uneasiness brought forth by the regional and cultural diversity of your batch mates. This bonding period is one of the best parts of life here. Orientations start rolling in soon, one after the other. InsIghT(the college newsletter), Lit club, Lifestyle Club, IITBBC (the official news channel of IITB), Lifestyle Club, etc., each orientation involves interactive activities, and will introduce you to people who have interests similar to yours, and same goals and passions. A good friend circle will take your life to another level entirely.

However, it’s not all roses n’ petals here. Acads DO take up time, and they are quite important. But let Acads take a back seat as far as this article is concerned. This was all quite superfluous.In fact, the way I see it, it’s just meant to occupy your time while you bond with friends. Once that is done, the real fun of college life begins. You’ll find yourself talking arbit stuff from the day. Bitching about professors, cursing the mess workers and academics, these are just small parts of a pre-ordained ritual whose cornerstones were laid probably with those of the college itself! I myself have had some epic sessions of these. For example, there are lots of cows here inside the campus. So, once a group of us sat down and made a holistic study about how the cows of IITB mingled with the cows of Ghatkopar, which ones consider themselves superior, which sect would have better husband material and many other things! Topics of girls dominate the conversations, though (not surprising, I know). Yes, I throw in the hat and admit that THERE is a lot of discussion about women, who has a crush on whom, who is going out with whom, etc. I am letting a bit more on than I wanted to, but, well, therein lies the fun! These ‘lukkha’ sessions, as we call them, are indeed one of the most fun parts of college life.

Ah, something I forgot to mention above. The lingo. IITB has a completely different jargon from the outside world. Learning to use it properly is a challenge in itself. There are ‘infy’ number of places (basically short for infinity; Meaning anything more than two :P) but you simply don’t use ‘infy’ in those ‘infy’ ways, because there is a code of conduct to be followed, and give honour to your mother-tongue-to-be for the next four years. The dialect is quite interesting, and much of it is common to many of the IITs. So you can always gauge a fellow IITian from the other people. Just be careful to not use it in front of outsiders, because “unke bewildered looks se tumhara GIVE-UP ho jaayega”.

Also, there is no official ‘bedtime’ for the Insti. I’m writing this sermon to you guys at 4:00 AM on a Sunday on my Lenovo laptop. Apart from your passion, there are many other things which will also make you work hard (or at least not let you sleep). Having a major crush in the Insti is definitely one of them! (Trust me on this, I speak from experience!). FIFA is another one. There’s always some egotistical gamer on your floor whom you’d love to crush with your favourite team! FIFA sessions in my wing have gone on to become all-nighters quite often. It’s more than just a game; there’s pride at stake, both yours’ and of the club you support, and the contests sometimes get quite fierce! There’s a special satisfaction to be had on beating a cocky neighbour or a guy who supports arch-rivals of your favourite team. There are players to be cursed, even though you know you are the one who is making them ‘haggofy’ (another slang from our very own lingo; I leave it to you to interpret it according to your own wish). Bragging rights are at stake. Game-On through the night!

R.G. or Relative Grading mentality (basically if you are tensed before exams, you spam others’ Facebook
account) also brings a load of laughter during the exams. So this was what happened this mid-sem: My wingies and I were discussing a really frustrating topic for an exam one day. Everyone took a break for five minutes and opened WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. We happened to chance across a profile that was eerily familiar to us, yet extremely alien to Facebook called Jai Sholaywala. Glancing across, we found another hilarious profile called Veeru Sholaywala. THAT was when mischief struck us. All of us friends created fake accounts. One created Gabbar Sholaywala, another Thakur Sholaywala. Mausi and Basanti followed soon after, and the Sholaywalas began grooving to their own tune! All of a sudden, Gabbar Sholaywala was ‘Liking’ Profile Pics of Thakur Sholaywala. Sent friend requests from these accounts to the entire Insti and, for a while during the mid-sem period, the Sholaywalas were just as trending in the campus as the Kardashians!

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Now, for the fests. Both biggest in Asia in their respective genres. I won’t say much about this, except that you have to be here and feel it to experience it. A lakh hearts, all beating in unison, two lakh feet simultaneously pounding the ground to the groove of artists; one lakh bodies, swaying together, moving as one. That is all I can say about Mood Indigo and Techfest. Their grandeur cannot be described in words or lines. You have to feel EVERYTHING, right from the simplest of decorations, to performances by the artists like Pritam and Shaan.

We don’t have many civilians on our campus on normal days, guys. It’s just us students in the huge, green, 550-acre labyrinth that is IITB. And this, our life, exempt as it is from many interruptions, finds meaning in all things, old and new, in science, and in God, in logic and in faith, in books in the running brooks. I realise that this has been quite a long post. But then, that is how sentimental I get about my college. Yes, MY college! In some way, I feel that the college is as much a part of me already, as I am a part of it.

In closing, I’d like to say one thing guys: We IITians are no super-intelligent cyborgs whom God gifted with an inevitably huge amount of grey matter that He had left, we are not the MOST hard working students in India. Neither do we consider ourselves the luckiest. However, we can surely say this: we are one of the better combinations of all the three: luck, hard work, and of course, a bit of intelligence.

Well, there you are guys! I hope I have dispelled some of the myths about us IITians! Thanks for bearing with me through this extremely long narrative! I hope this post inspires those of you who have joined college to be proud of it and those who haven’t, to fight for the best they can get! Cheers!

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