To B.E. or not to B.E…. part 1

by sidin in

We have this course called Persuasive Communication. The prof really didn't want to offer it, but we talked him into it. During one of the PC classes, he mentioned how engineers always think and communicate logically. Which immediately set me thinking. A very stereotyped person is the poor engineer. Accused of moral and social weaknesses, material follies, and compromised ethics, the engineer is doomed the moment he steps into his first engineering drawing class. From that moment he has lost all chance of being accepted as a normal human being by his fellow non-engineer human beings.
It is quite a tragedy really. If a normal guy wears a pair of Hawaii slippers out on a weekend its comfortable chic. However let it out that he has a B.Tech degree and works for a software firm and his choice of footware is affrontery and irreverence. "They don't teach manners at engineering college..." grunts the Commerce graduate. Which is completely untrue. For example every engineer knows that a cigarette is never smoked alone in company, it is always passed. Nor will an engineer ever hog all the alcohol at a weekend drink-a-thon. Never. He always makes sure everyone gets enough. (especially the women, but there are reasons for this as we shall see...) I had a friend who was an expert bartender. The mere sight of a bottle of firewater and his mind would go into mix mode.
Me: Hey!!! Look an old partly drunk bottle of Old Cask lying in the bottle of the drawer. Good for the party?
Friend: (After come quick mathematics in his head...) That should be enough for 17 drinks of 60ml each with an allowance of 100 ml for spills...
Me: Its a party for only mallus...Friend: er... 4 drinks then.
(Yes yes I know no true engineer would leave booze lying around undrunk. They teach you that in first year. Unless you are a teetotaller. Teetoallers learnt how to seal all the cracks in your hostel room door and windows using newspaper.)
Indeed it is unfortunate that people do not appreciate the great computing power of the engineer. Many are the IT behemoths that run on the Indian engineer's intellect. Infosys, Wipro, Nasa and Desibaba just to name a few. Without him and his complete dedication to his work and his employer where would they be today. These and many other multinationals owe everything to him and his utter lack of social life.
But how can one have social skills if one is told from birth that one has to become an engineer and protect the family from endless ridicule and shame. One spends all his time between tuition centers and school and coaching classes that very soon society is but a sweaty mass to be avoided on local transport. When he goes to a book fair he is bought IIT guides and question banks. When he sees a movie he notices even Rajnikanth in "Padayappa" is a mechanical engineer. (Which reminds me of this good friend who had never read a normal book in his entire life until his dad bought him a classic by mistake. It took him two days before he noticed there were no formulae or questions at the end of each chapter. His dad was not happy to learn that he had got the title wrong and it was not "The Unbearable Lightness of B.E.-ing".)
Then there are those who accuse the poor engineer of promiscuity. Look, they say, all they do is watch porn. All they do is talk kinky. Have a heart people. Only a person who has gone through four years of mechanical engineering and such allied sciences knows what it means to be deprived. No this is not the deprivation of the non-vegetarian stuck in a Saravana Bhavan for life. No this is infinitely worse. Anything remotely comparable is the plight of the Thakur in Sholay who lost his wife and both arms. Indeed much mirth and celebration happened on the days when women were seen in and around the Mechanical Department. Entire academic proceedings once came to a standstill when a new textbook on fliud dynamics had a pretty lass on the cover. Oh yes we were quite active in trying to handle our deprivation. I distinctly remember the scoring sheet when paper contests were held in our department back then.
Technical Content: 10%
Presentation: 10%
Primary research: 10%
Sex of author: 70% + 40 million bonus points
It wasn't an easy life by any means. And after all the rat race was over we got recruited into multinational companies who offered us high career growth jobs. HR told us that we were lucky to join a firm that did so much to ensure our jobs were designed to fit our individual strengths and weakness and from the day we joined we would receive personal mentorship. This was told during our orientation programme which took place in a stadium so as to hold all the new recruits. It was a tough life. Employee of the month one day, laid off the other. And still no sign of a cance to propagate the species. Of course some of us decided enough was enough was enough and wrote GRE. For some even that did not work. A very close mate was rushing on his bike to his GRE centre in Chennai, almost out of time when a busfull of Ethiraj College women passed by. The poor fellow had not a chance.
And then there is Bschool with all the women. And boy was it a cultural shock.
"THEY study here?"
"Exchange women actually come here????"
Blame culture shock I plead you. not the innocent ignorant technologist. In fact next time you spy an innocent engineer being lambasted for anti-social behaviour spare a thought for his past that has made him the substance abusing, hormone driven animal he is today. It just isnt his fault. It was all society fault. But also remember this. The earth will finally be inherited by the engineer. The man of science will indeed triumph over arts, commerce and such majors. (Except maybe physical education. Those guys are huge sometimes. So they're cool.) The brave technologist will indeed rewrite our future as we know it. (No seriously he will. All the novels you have read about the future isn't called chartered-accountancy-fiction is it?) Then the world will be a better place where people are happy, content, and have a lot of free porn.