Monday, December 31, 2007

The Hall of Fame

!N D L@B
‘The University Exam’ is the last word that any B-tech student prefers to hear. To secure our degree, we had to undergo the pain of taking those exams. The lab exams where the biggest gamble, “kittiyal bumper allengil pauper”. Even If luck favors you, there used to be an annoying round of viva where the external examiner gets to test our creativity & prove our stupidity; what ever you may come up with. The electrical lab in S4 (2004) was one of a kind. Being an EC student; motors meant nothing more than a rotating chunk & the hefty gauges made no sense to me. To add on to the aversion to that subject, the university had honored me with a ‘suppli’ for the ‘basic electrical engineering paper’ in S3.

In the lab gals used to be the live brains’, for me fooling around & sleeping where the subjects of importance. Last but not the least, the motor fly wheels had to be rinsed; the only job that guys used to assist in. The bottom line is that, by the semester end you would be left with nothing but a blank record, which had to be completed & submitted before the exams. The days before exam would be dedicated for this karma.

The first ever experiment I had done in the Electrical lab was on the day previous to University exam. After going through the pages of the record I concluded to try out the easiest experiment. It involved a transformer (that’s the only knowledge about that experiment I have now) & that was the only experience I tried hands on, before facing the University exam. My strategy was 2 cover the theory as it will come in handy 4 viva, as for the out put in practicals; it was a venture.

Now, the D-day has come, the first batch including myself was waiting out side the lab. A few of them where engaged in their futile attempts to mug up every thing possible whether it be graph’s or even values, while the pragmatists where indulging in taking down special notes popularly known as “THUNDU” & the air was filled with typical dialogues like…

“Aliyaaa vellathum padicho ?”

“Enikku onnum ariyathilla”

“Machambi’ vellathum kaanichu tharanae”

“External valippikumo ?”

“avaru CET yile oru teacher aa”

In no time the lab was set & questions where distributed,
The question for me was “Plot the speed torque cara of a DC synchronous motor”
Hmmm…, I put down every thing I could recollect about the motor but the circuit diagram that I had studied last night had transformed itself into something absurd. I kept gazing at the motor. It has two poles but for the motor in my diagram, the poles have reduced to one. I had to take chances. To my right side I could see Biju taking pain to copy down from the “thundu” he had made. With a sign of relief I asked him

“Aliyaa, DC motor thundu ondo?”

With a proud smile he took a slip from his pocket & showed it. It was my life line
I took as glance at his miniaturized diagram

“Eppole kitti evide yaa pole ennu” (I said to myself)

My work was half done. To much of my relief the examiner gave me green signal to wire up the motor. After wiring up, I was all set to try my luck. The internal examiner (Mija mam) examined the circuit & asked me
“Aby kku eni entha cheyyandthu ennu ariamoo?”
It had an unusual tone of sarcasm that seemed to question the attitude I’ve strutted all through those years.
With my ‘Enna pidicho’ style, I pushed the button ‘ON’ “Vroom…vroom”
The Motor was on the run.

Some one from the side whispered “Dai, Bucketil vellam konduvannu ozhikku”.

Kul$i @ Work

I switched the motor off; it was then that I remembered the ground rule for “DC synchronous motor” the load has to be high or else it might damage the motor, due to some reason that I’m still unaware of. I increased the load to the max ‘Eni load illathatu karanam Exam tholkkan paadillaloo’ & switched it ON again. I listened to the motor’s hum. To my ears, it was a sweet sound of success. By the time I reached back to pour some water into the fly wheel the “vroom” transformed into a “buzz…zzz” & then came to a STOP !

“ Oops ! kalipaayo ? ellam adichi pooyo?”

Mean while Mija passed by, I gestured her indicating that some thing has gone wrong. She asked me “ motor ninal enta cheyyandathu ? My response was an innocent smile
“athenganeyaa vellathum chaithu nookiyaal alle ariyou! FUSE kettanam , eppole engilum padichu vaicho adutha supppilku upakaara pedum”

I remembered how Anuja used to wind up the fuse & tie it down; I did the same. But much to my amazement the motor didn’t respond thanks to my bad luck. Checked and rechecked the circuit but all efforts where fruitless.

“Dang! What has happened?”

Neither Mija nor the external knew what had gone wrong. She summoned for electrician, Binu annan alias “Current Binu”. My prayers gave him company while he attempted to fix the snag. After a brief inspection he looked back at me & said

Binu annan : “ aaha, thangalaano ee pani opiche ?”
Myself (sigh) “haaa… anna , vellathum nadakkumo ?”
Binu annan : “Ninte faghyam poolae erikkum ! … angootu mari ninnae ”

And he proceeded to a structure that very much resembled a refrigerator, Me & Mija accompanied him.

Mija : “ ethano? pooyae “
Binu annan: “ Wah , ethuh thane”
Mija gave me a cold stare.

My further queries left me with the knowledge that it was an AC- DC converter that costs quiet a fortune. Biju annan opened the device unveiling a colossal stack of circuit boards, that left me like “WTF* !”. With utmost vigil annan pulled out a board from the stack & replaced the fuses, mounted it back& powered it up, to produce a weird “bizzzzz” sound. Mused by the noise, he peeked through its vents. “BHAAM !!!” & the device became a smoke shell throwing annan a few steps behind!!! The whole episode was soon followed by a distant noise, listening to which Binu annan exclaimed “substation trip aayae !” & scrambled his way out through the doors. A small err has burgeoned into TOTAL CHAOS’.

I stood there petrified; forsaken by all fortune. I pictured myself toiling in the lab 6 months into the future , for the next suppli exam.Cursing my fate , I took seat next to my long time chum ‘Vivek’ who had been caught for indulging in malpractice & was detained for the time being. Reaching out to me, he told “Aliyaa! neeyum moonji ; gahnum moonji… enium samayam ondadae namukku paiyyae ezhuti edukkam” & we laughed at each other fate.

With half an hour left to mark the end of exam, I was called up for viva. Come what may! now that everything is ruined, with all gut I occupied the hot seat.

External examiner: “ Othiri , kashtapettu kaanumello ?”
Me : Onnum manapurvam alla ,
External examiner :Entha sambahaviche ennu manasilaaayo ?
Me : Load Kooti vaikkana padipichae, appole ghan load kooti; pakshe aa load motor thangiyilla.

The conversation was soon followed by a relentless flow of question, most of which I was hearing 4 the 1st time & in the end the examiner gave a record & asked 2 copy down the values from it. ‘Phew! Now at least I can fill my answer sheet with some figures’

When the exam was done with, I was complimented by many of my friends, 4 having relieved them from the pain of studying all DC experiments .For that university exam No DC experiments where asked, thanks to my wretched hands. The news spread like wild fire. On those days, who ever came across me credited with the statement:

“Thanks aliyaa ! nee karanam lab exam ..rekshapettu “.

Was it a Miracle or not I don’t know! ; But by God’s grace that was the last day I ever had to be in the Electrical Lab & after a few months when I happened to bump into Mr Current Binu , I learned from him that the machine couldn’t be fixed even after the engineers from its makers ( kirloskar ) gave in their bests. In the end the insurance claimed was approved & the machine was replaced. That lab exam had brought in a sweeping change to my attitude. As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure", so from then on never did I dare to touch any gadgets in the lab & theory was way sweeter than the practicals.


  1. Hey...

    Im the first one to comment in ur blog...Hurrrayy!!!Heard this story many times from you..Still it was fun reading it...Funny presentation of a very serious :-)incident...Coool...

  2. Good one! brought back memnories:)
    By the way, I got this as an email forward, keep writing!

  3. ni angane electrical labil kerathayalle........:-).
    nice blog yaar...