Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Labs in College (1997-2001)

Labs in colleges all over India are very similar. They consist of a bunch of bored instructors huddled in a corner, a vast collection of apparatus from the Jurassic age and a large group of students broken into groups, taking apart these machines and trying to get them to work. The 'instruction manual' for labs are few old lab manuals handed down from the Nile valley civilization. Successive generations of prospective engineers faithfully copy down every word while putting their engineering brains to good use checking out the scenery around them. This meant that no one knows what is copied and if it is copied correctly. Mistakes are inevitable and these add up. In short, by the time I entered the college, the instructions in the 'lab manual' was 'the one way the experiment was sure to not work'. I found this very convenient. All I needed to do was hang around, do nothing, and finally blame it on the apparatus. After all, no one was going to get the result.
But a scan down my previous blog would tell you that I was unfortunate enough to have a nerd in my friend circle. And nerds don't like bad outputs. To add to that he found a real fundamental (read mental) guy called Janson to help him investigate what goes wrong. Anand joined in with them and they huffed and they puffed and soon they had an all new set of experiments that used to actually work. Lord knows how many curses I rained down on them the day their efforts came to fruition. Soon, however, I came to look at it in a far different light.
My lab group consisted of 5 people. Neena, Musfira, Paulose, Peyush and Me. Musfira, bless her, would ensure paulose, peyush and I had our rough records up to date (wont be allowed inside the lab without one). Then Neena and Musfi would answer all questions fired at us by the instructor before we are allowed to lay our hands on the apparatus. Paulose would promptly disappear to reappear only when the output is on view. Neena and Musfi would begin their doomed attempt to get the experiment up and running. Doomed for two reasons
1) they are girls 2) As proved by my nerd friends, the circuit diagram is wrong.
Peyush and I would stand around passing snide heartless comments waiting for the inevitable. Then, like some junior Einstein I would strut over to lab book, try to imitate the thoughtful look of the previous night on Akhil and Janson's face , say a few intelligent expressions like "hmmm ... interesting" .. and finally redraw the diagram I had painfully committed to memory. Inevitable I would draw back to looks of awe from Musfi and Neena. To this day they believe I am a very fundu guy .... Thank you akhil and janson .. Sob (tears of joy) my gratitude is unbounded. Peyush would take over and before you know it .. The output would be on the screen.

1 comment:

Anand said...

Remember Paulose's drawing of inductors in the record books?? It always used to be in the wrong format, because he was never the one who drew it ;-))