Being part of a relatively new branch in MACE, we lacked the basics, when we started our engineering journey. During S1 & 2 we used to wander like nomads in the campus from period to period for the availability of a classroom… Our HoD TK Varghese Sir used to motivate us in first year Basic Electronics class, calling ourselves “We, The Electronics People”. But without even a classroom, we didn’t feel the sense of belonging.
The best things in life are but worth a wait. Even a year. At least for us.
By S3, we got a shelter, a block of our own, and our very own classroom. A partially constructed building, with an aroma of grey and wet cement, dark corridors separating the rooms, it was still a new place, a new identity, a world of our own. A matter to rejoice and celebrate… We started feeling like being a special community, “The Electronics People”.
A matter to rejoice and celebrate …. We started becoming a nation of our own, “The Electronics People”
It was the lush green paddy fields on one side of the classrooms which attracted most of us towards the Electronics Block. Luckily, we got the best located classroom. The other branches were making fun of us for being remote from the main blocks, calling it ‘Mathirappilly block’. But we were happy in that world of ours. Surrounded by pure serenity, with long stretched paddy fields on one side, we were fortunate enough to experience the cool touch of nature prevailing in that valley!
And our classroom was the best one with a corner view. We had a perfect blend of nature. A resort style living it was! While others literally sweated out in the main block in classrooms 111 and 112, the cool breeze from the nearby paddy fields gave us a soothing weather. While others had no place to take a break from boring lectures, it was enough for us to pass our eyes through the windows to the vast beauty of the mostly green and rarely yellow fields, waving smoothly in the gentle breeze outside.
Coming out of the block, we were welcomed by another natural greenery, a bunch of plants with evergreen leaves. We have taken a few photographs with that as background. We were so crazy about such photographs during those days, as I remember. Even now, I will be so happy if any of my class friends can trace back at least one of them.
Slowly, the paddy fields and the breeze were becoming an obsession for us. We even grew a deep belief that “our” classroom was our ancestral home. It was becoming difficult for us to imagine a classroom other than this. Even the very thought of sparing it for others was disturbing…
The day came on which our new semester S4 started. Some of us reached the block early and checked the classroom allotment on the notice board. We were shocked! We lost “our classroom”! The new one allotted was on the opposite side of the corridor. No way…! Suddenly, a wonderful idea came out – was it an idea evolved from the heated discussion we had back and forth? I don’t remember at all… Anyway, thanks to the first year training in Mechanical Workshop, our carpentry skills sprang into action. A few minutes of cautious work in perfect unity… Done! We were back in our favorite classroom again for S4! From next semester onwards, it was taken care by our hosteller boys. The allotment was checked a day before and the “action” completed overnight. It was repeated till the end of the course! And we enjoyed the cool breeze and the smoothly waving sight of the enchanting paddy fields throughout the remaining period in MACE!!! When we finally bid farewell, we were equally sad about leaving the classroom. If you see more trees around, granted it’s our tears that watered them all…
When we finally bid farewell, we were equally sad about leaving the classroom. If you see more trees around, granted it’s our tears that watered them all.
On the first day when we got the classroom in S3, boys had the “window” seats. On the second day, we girls arrived early enough to occupy those seats. When boys came, we just made up some dubious excuse, but we didn’t want to disclose the reason! The girls made sure to come to the class as early as possible in the initial days, and occupied the favorite seats. This was another game repeated every semester. The boys were not much bothered about this, and within a few days they used to forget it and leave it for us. Thus we continued to enjoy it as before, semester after semester. And the reason was kept as a secret – until now!
Another attraction of the block was a big box-like opening against the landing of the staircase. We, the St. Mary’s team of our class, or as we called ourselves “The 555” after the popular NE555 timer chip we were fond of, used to sit there happily enjoying the view in cool breeze. We used to dream of a photograph taken of ours sitting “inside the box” with the beautiful nature as background.
In those days, cameras were rare things, and to fulfill the wish of taking a photograph may take a long time. The films of analog cameras were also very cautiously handled objects. Much care was taken to utilize them judiciously and never to waste them. It may sound strange in today’s digital world of selfies and social media, in which millions of photos are coming out and getting deleted every moment. However, that rarity made a single photograph so valuable in those days. And that was the beauty of it.
We ran, not even bothering about changing our cloths, straight to our “location”
It was almost the end of the course, and our long-standing dream was not fulfilled yet. We were determined to find someone with a camera. At last we could somehow arrange a camera with an almost used up film roll. There were only one or two films left in it, which might or might not work. Even though we were not sure, we hoped we could take the dream photo if we get a photographer.
One fine evening in a weekend, we found a “photographer” from LH. She was available only that day, and it was nearing sunset. If we missed that day, the college days were over and our dreams of capturing our resort picture would never have happened. Only a few minutes left for us to get a photograph in good lighting. Precious moments. We ran, not even bothering about changing our dress, straight to our “location” and clicked! … And waited keeping our fingers crossed until we get the print out. To our great surprise, it worked well!!!
Thus came out the picture of “555 in the Dream Box”!! A memoir of the good old days, so close to heart!!
Thanks to Meena Sharma, the photographer, for fulfilling our dream! Thanks to Riyaz for preserving this photograph so clear and intact for a quarter-century!! Thanks to Saji and Remi for giving support to publish this photo, and also for helping me to remember some of the details of the story!!!