college, India

IIT- A Mothers perspective

In our IIT saga, based on the feedback and our own research, we were looking to get our son into one of the older IITs + IIT Hyderabad. For the uninitiated, the older IITs are IIT-Madras, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IIT – Roorkee, IIT – Guwahati, IIT- Kharagpur and IIT – Kanpur. In addition we also considered IIT – Hyderabad which is a newer IIT but since it was getting a lot of positive feedback, we considered that as well.

Roorkee:

After the son got admitted into one of the oldest IIT(IIT-R), travelling and visiting the son to that part of India has been a pleasure! Roorkee is a little place in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is known for IIT, the army, the pure air and generous water! The river Ganga flows and flows…all over… Actually, it was quite amazing to see so much of free flowing water. The southern states of India almost always gasp for water(before all the current floods) Water tankers are a common sight in cities like Bengaluru and Chennai. And it was a pleasure to see that there was no necessity of water tankers in IIT Roorkee!

The Hindi language also flows and flows…The son had actually never heard so much of Hindi even though our place in Bengaluru is also predominantly Hindi speaking.

Life seems to be slow paced in Roorkee and it is nice to know that nobody is rushing anywhere to catch anything!! (The driver driving at 60 kmph on an empty road was really puzzling to me – why not go at a 100 kmph on an empty road was my Bengaluruean thought ;))  In a city like Bengaluru we try to do the reverse – we try to do 100 kmph in a totally jammed and crammed zone!!

IIT- Roorkee:

IIT – Roorkee is one of oldest engineering institutions in India. It was established in 1847(yes!) by Sir James Thomason and it was originally known as ‘University of Roorkee and Thomason College of Civil Engineering’.  The main building in IIT -Roorkee is known as ‘The James Thomason building” and still hosts many Professors rooms. The James Thomason building is the single most important building in IIT Roorkee. It has been maintained excellently and the architecture still looks amazing. The tiles in the James Thomason building reminded me of the tiles in my maternal grandparents place.

The green lawn in front of the building is manually maintained very well. The foyer has high ceilings and the entry way displays proficiency certificates in both academic and sports fields dating back to 1858!!

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IIT – Roorkee has 21 departments covering Engineering, Applied sciences, Humanities, Management and more. The campus area sprawls over 365 acres which is huge. The infrastructure is awesome and all the faculty have adequate educational qualifications( Ph.Ds) to teach students. All faculty information is up online and we can see all their qualifications and experience.

Students use bicycles to move from building to building and there are a lot of them! All students are toppers in their own school/zone and it is a battle of the brightest of the brightest minds in the country!

In addition, to bicycles, there are also e-rickshaws that ply within the campus. These e-rickshaws take up to 5 passengers per trip and all it costs is 10 Rs/person to travel from any location to any other location within the campus!! (just imagine!!)

Another thing that actually struck me was the cost of living in IIT Roorkee or Roorkee for that matter. The cost of living in IIT-Roorkee or outside the campus is extremely cheap compared to a city like Bengaluru(40 Rs/haircut , ‘Coffee day’ stuff available for half the price in Bengaluru)

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Two banks operate within the campus for the benefit of students. Barber shops, stationary shops, juice shops all pepper the bhawans. The campus is kept immaculately clean.

There are no power problems – if at all – they are extremely minimal.

There is also very nice Saraswathi temple, mosque and a church within the campus.

The campus also boasts of badminton courts, a good gym, a mega swimming pool, table tennis courts, tennis courts and more sporting activities. Since IIT Roorkee is in foothills of the Himalayas – there is also a ‘Himalayan explorers club’ for the adventurous(sounds fascinating isn’t it?)

It was also nice to see mental health being spoken openly at the orientation and students are always asked to come up and talk if they feel stressed or depressed(after all, most 1st year students are staying away from their cozy home for the first time in their lives)

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Hostels:

The hostels in IIT-R are known as “bhawans”. Each bhawan feels like a separate apartment complex! The rooms are old but decently maintained. Washing machines, geysers are also present to enable the transition from home to hostel easier(again, this is the first time that most students are doing the washing and other stuff on their own)

There are 2 students in a room or some get single rooms too. ‘Coffee Day’, ‘Subway’ are two new additions to keep the hostelites taste buds happy.

First year students get allotted rooms based on their AIR rank(yes!) and that is the only talk of JEE advanced rank. After that it is open competition for all.

As a mother, the college is awesome and the faculty have amazing experience and educational qualifications and the whole IIT experience is easily affordable too.  Now it is up to the son to adjust and figure the whole thing out!! 🙂

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India, US

Realities of life in the USA – 2

I thought I was done with writing about India and US but I was watching a Tamil movie ‘Achamundu Achamundu’ yesterday and all my thoughts coherently aligned yet again for another reality post!! 🙂

  1. Loneliness is a huge killer for Indian families in the USA…especially, women. If you are neither a student nor are working, loneliness will grab you in her arms and never let go of you!! 😦 If you live in a cold place like Detroit, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago -you can be certain you will be in her arms at least once in your time there.
  2. Most women who are neither working nor studying, will end up making friends in the local library, school, college, parks or other social gatherings.
  3. Friends will be the real social strength for immigrants in the USA. Anybody from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,  Bangladesh and any/all Asian countries – we become extremely attached to them because of our common culture! 🙂
  4. Social gatherings like weddings, engagements, pre-engagements, baby showers, baby arrival gatherings and more will come and go in India and you will be cut-off from them. You will see them in all probability only when the child goes to kindergarten or beyond…
  5. You will really not see many people outside walking on the streets like in India.You will definitely see cars, cars and more cars…

 

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6. Doing laundry everyday is really not the norm in the USA. It is something that visiting parents and in-laws will find difficulty adjusting to.

7. And if your apartment, has a common laundromat – be prepared to carry your clothes to the laundromat…(don’t we miss the maids in India?!! :))

8. Most families will not get the newspaper in paper format either. Again that is a fact that many visiting parents and in-laws have to get adjusted to.

9. If you get to visit the USA as a student, finances will be absolutely tight. You will be trying to prove yourself as a good student and you have to manage all the finances all alone for the first time in your life too.  This is probably the toughest path for an immigrant and the most satisfying one too. You will enjoy the American system of education which is fundamentally different from the Indian system.

10. One eye or rather both eyes will keep track of every movement in India too!! 🙂 Who has won the election, what is the trend in women’s fashion world(for women), what are the children of India studying currently – might be some thoughts that are constantly whizzing through us – this is also the way to keep in touch with our motherland…

11. If you have decided to settle in the USA, you will be visiting India more than 2-3 times a year for different reasons and excuses!! 😉

Read the first part of ‘Realities of life in the USA’  here…have I missed any other realities?