Friday, January 11, 2008

“Oru Rocket Vidan Pooya Kadha” : Main Project.

[.... 99% of the story is nonfiction & any resemblance to people living (or dead) is purely intentional ;) ...]

Let me take you a few years back through the lane that faded with time but bestowed me with many memories & experiences. It’s the college life & this event took place a few years back, towards the beginning of 2006. The New Year has blossomed with new life, dreams & hope. Time has drawn to closure of the ‘Happy Days’ of our life; but for many of my kind these final days at college where like the Judgment Day. Once out of college, people expected us to be either employed; go for M Tech or an MBA. But the past 4 years had proved that books are never meant for me.

‘Kaiyil oru jooly ella … athae samayam classil olla chila pillerkku Moonum Naalum Joolikal, that too in MNCs. College kazhinju erangumbole akae kaiyil undaairikunnathu Suppliyum Critiyum chertu oru kettu Mark-Listukal, poraanju collegilaePriciyum Management`um aadarapurvam sammanicha Memo`kalum Suspension letterukalum ‘ With such proficiency the best career we could dream would be to join a Political party & try out our luck. ‘Anganae Naatukarkum veetukarkum veendatha oru jeevitham Nayikunna kaalam.’ But there was a talk among our group (Vaali`group) that if we get to do a project in a reputable institution, then it is probable to get a job.

When the time came to enroll our names to the companies, luck was harsh with us; as usual marks were a bar. Those who had high academic merit teamed up for submitting the applications. We realized how it feels to be left behind & it was out of sheer frustration that the trio ‘Aby, Vishnu & Rahul’ was born; myself & Vishnu‘ve been together for mini project & we carried the legacy of presenting an irrefutable fake project last year, & this time Rahul was a replacement for one member of that notorious team. We filled up VSSC form; but no matter how we calculated, the aggregates were in no par with the ‘Buji teams’ so we dint even bother about further proceedings. Only a few seats where available & to compete with the ‘Bujis’ would no less than ‘Sreeshant challenging Sachin to taste his pathetic York!’ .As usual, there were a bunch of guys who remained stranded when the whole world moved on. Now what to do next? Someone told: ‘Aliya eeni charadu valikal ondengilae rekshayollu’. As per the advice; though by twisted means, we managed to get an opening into IISU (ISRO inertial systems Unit). Three of us where in ‘Cloud 9’ when our project was confirmed, the news spread among our Vaali` group that we‘ve been elevated to elite strata with the ‘Bujis’. Meanwhile we learned from our class that Harish’s group (a classmate) has also joined IISU for project... well, thus migrate one more to the new band.

The day came when we set our foot on the land which was once forbidden for us. The Gates of IISU, with soldiers clad in vests & Kalashnikovs; the frisking that we under went, gave us a feel that we where in some military zone. Though our intentions were to meet our guide; we loitered though the corridors & as our search progressed we encountered sights that would’ve astound many; intricate gadgets, mammoth servers etc but none of them seemed to amuse the trio.

Rahul : “Enthuvadae ethu ? oru color um ellello evidae?”.
Me : “eni athintae kuravumkuudae ollu, da ethu ladies hostel alla !!! “
Vishnu :.“avan marudae kaiyilae thooku nee kandallo ? Vellavalaeyum commentadichitu venam , vediyum kondu evide kidannu nilavilikkan”

We Bantered & moved along, but were interrupted by something weird but wonderful. It was a VLSI lab & through it’s glass pane we gazed in wonder to see men; all clad in white suits, hood, gloves & boots … it was for the first time that we were seeing it for real ‘Now this is awesome, we all said to our selves‘

“…Nook`Aliyaaa !...“ (for one sec I thought , ‘ethentha ashareeriyo?’); but that was Rahul’s cry! from the other side of the corridor. We turned to see something stunning; the astounding laboratories were in no par with the charm decanted from this one in front of our eyes! Yes, it was a Lady, but to call her a lady would be an understatement… she was an 8th wonder. Like in the movies, she was strolling (cat walking) through the corridor in slow motion (of course, she dint walk slow but we felt so). As she left us behind with out jaws dropped & mystified by her spell, we bounced back into the old topic again “Colors”

Me : “Enthairunneda! aa pooyathu ? “
Vishnu: “Athu , eviduthu kaari aano da ? ”
Rahul : “Kandal arinjuudae? aval north indianaa monae”
Vishnu :”Shariya , alavalathi malaylikaludae edayil yengane kittana, engane oru piecinae ? ”

After having spent some significant time in search of some more exquisite specimens, we had to conclude that what we came across was unique & by end of day we proceeded to see our Guide. A few minutes after we reached our guide’s dept room, the new character of the story turned up; a medium build, with thick moustache, he was a typical archetype of a Mallu hero: ’a poor fellow’.

In the Dept room:
Guide: “Ghan work cheyyunna Projectintae oru section ningalae kondu chaiyikkam aanu udeeshikunnathu”
Rahul : ”Nammal chaiyyam Sir, pakshae challenging aayirikanam ”
Vishnu & Me (Gave a cold stare @ Rahul)
Guide : “Pinnae ! its good enough… ‘Scatterometer ctrl data acquisition & processing’ It’s a section of ‘Oceansat-2’… Blah blah blah”. The briefing went for an hour or so, with a bunch of graph’ waveforms & diagrams; Rahul seemed to comprehend whatever the guide was explaining. His class was so magical that rest of us were literally falling off our chairs.
Guide: “Appole sambhavam ellam manasilaayi ennu vishwasikkunnu. tomorrow morning, be at my lab. You will get 1 month to finish it off.”
All: “Shari Saar!” (With an obvious tone of sarcasm)
While driving back home:
Me : “Dai , angeeru paranjathu vellathum manasilaayo ?”
Rahul : “Angeeru paranjathu vachu nookiyal Rocket nammal thannae videendi varum !”
Vishnu : “Ethano , eyalu kannadiyum fit cahitu etra neeram keetu kondirunathu ? manasilayilengil athu parayada, kidannu urulaathae ” & three of us broke into laughter.

We woke up afresh next day; we knew our lives where going 2 take a U-turn from now on. Though quite unexpected from chaps of our kind, we managed to be punctual. Our guide escorted us to the lab. It was quite a huge room packed up with comps; many electronic & mechanical gadgets where scattered around, among them stood ‘our last hope’ Scatterometer with its head held high. Once we got acquainted with our sanctum, our guide summoned us for next round of briefing – “Aaah Not again”, I wanted to shout it out loud.

Guide: ‘ethanu Scatterometer; it’s a microwave radar, ...he went on & on…’
Vishnu (whisper): “Machambi, Ee Sunaappiyil aano work cheyyendunnathu? Nadannathu thannae ! ”
Guide(good ears): ‘Ethil alla ningal work cheyyunathu , you make the simulations ; athu adyam work cheyyanam … pinnae baaki ’
Guide (Pointing @ a middle aged lady with horny glasses, standing across the room): She would assist you in this project; she has been working on the same project.
Vishnu (whisper):”Engarae poraanju aa Ammachiyayum sahikkano ?”

Once the briefing was over, our hopes sank; it was rather a dilemma whether we (who’ve never faired in Labs) could make it up to his expectations
Vishnu (to Rahul): “Samaadhanam aayallo ? mariyathaykku oru certificate oppikan ollathinu ; avante oru challenging project. Annan thaniyae erunnu ondakku ! “
Me: “Eda, entayalum nananju eni namakku kulichu kayaram.”

Though Rahul’s urge for a challenging project was a mockery; now it had turned out to be a real challenge. The project requirements where more than we had expected. The worse part of it is that, the Lady was developing the very same thing & to deliver the requirement before she does was a question of pride for us. If the contrary happens then it is going to be more than a shame, “3 guys loosing it to a lady! Not in a life time...“.We pumped up our morale; locked & loaded, the days ahead saw the ‘3 men army’ in action. But the lady didn’t seem to have much regard for the effort we used to put into the project. She made frequent visits to our desk to check our advancements .Knowing that it was not just a race against time but also against ‘that lady’ we had no choice but to slog,. For the first time after getting into we were sweating blood. To much of my disbelief, the whole team was toiling. Now we where in a position to hope against hope; but the sadder part is that the alliance didn’t last for long. We observed Rahul’s interest peter out gradually, from absent mindedness to unfinished tasks & recurrent disappearance (‘mungals’) b/w work.

Time went on, the final days where closing in; we were lagging ‘Indian teaminae polae avasaananimisham kondu kudam odaikkumo ennairunnu ente peedi’... until one day, at noon

Me: “Da Rahul evidae ?”
Vishnu : “ Aah ! evidae ondirunnallo etra neeram , chayakudikkan pooyi kaanum ?”
Me: “ee neerathu entha ottaykku oru chaya kudi ? vaa namukkum chaya kudikaam”
As we proceeded to the canteen we came across Hareesh
Vishnu: “Ha! Nee chathillae ? evideya ninte lab aara ninte Guide? ”
Hareesh: “Onum parayenda , onumae work cheyyunilla , pakshae guide Vedikettanu monae , oru ‘N!@n@ Thakur’; baa kaanichu tharam !”

Hareesh took the lead; myself & Vishnu followed him to the cryogenics department & he slowly opened the door for us to take a peek but what we saw there left use flabbergasted. His guide was none but the Northy lady who left 3 of us in a hypnotic spell the very first day. This time it was not her spell that stunned us, it was Rahul & he was speaking to her in Hindi! Yeah Hindi , neva in the worlds ‘ve I heard him speak Hindi ! “Is` port sae us` port thak ......... Ni@n@! eisaye connect karkae deeko yaar!” he was tutoring her how to connect the DAQ card to the server. The very same thing we had taught him the day before; “Eda Perum kalla!” I bet this was what, went thru back of our heads as we listened to that crook. He was too animated by the talk that he dint even notice us & as he pivoted 2 c two of his mates staring; he delivered noting but a typical clinical smile, to which Vishnu yelled with anger & jist “Piyae TUNE cheyyeda , avalu karinju pookum!” “Eni nee angootu vaa”. Thanks, ‘the 8th wonder’ didn’t know ABCs of Malayalam; she kept a composed smile when she saw two unwelcomed jerks shouting in her room.

Interestingly the incident not just solved the mystery of Rahul’s frequent disappearance, but also gave us a fresh reason to do our project. We studied not jus to finish off the project but were also waiting for a chance to tutor the 8th wonder. In the end, our hard work was paid off; our simulation worked flawlessly & the fact that the program given by the lady who worked in tandem with us for meeting the same goal was a flop, added to the sweetness of our success. Now the only barrier b/w us & the certificate was the project report. One month of acquaintance with our guide had left us with the knowledge that he is an idealist, so we had to produce some thing that he won’t reject. During the last days we came across some well prepared documents in our comp, authored by our very own Guide for the sake of his studies; as the saying goes “Leopards can’t change its spots “, the congregation of our devious brains resulted in yet another drama! And in the end as we submitted our completed reports before our beloved guide, with his work in our pages; the expression that swept through his face was an Awe which almost read ‘Odukkam ente nengathotu thannae rocket vitello , makkale !’ & when he scribbled his precious signature on our certificates, we where happy that to see our dream fruitioned & we had lived up to the notorious legacy our team had left behind the previous year.

Mo$T W@nTeD
                              Mo$T W@nTeD

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