The first day of my engineering college is etched carefully in my mental map, simply because it was the first day of my life post school. I had been crazy with excitement, redoing my wardrobe, carefully choosing accessories, discussing dares and ragging stuff with my schoolmates. I had been so brainwashed by the movies and literature of the times that glorified college days as the rosiest days of one’s life that I was expecting something akin to Grown-ish or Friends or even Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na in my new college…
And bam! I entered the campus, finding it immense, green and…well…deserted. A bored woman took my admission slip and directed me towards the classes. I was so used to seeing my school receptionist dressed as if she had to attend a cocktail party after work that this strict formal dressing completely threw me off.
My timetable had the first class of Fluid Mechanics in room C9, 3rd floor, the corridors around which looked drab and empty with formal notices and a dull blue-grey paint filling the walls. Surreptitiously entering the class where the professor was droning on about some obscure concept not even noticing me, I took a secluded corner in the room, the bubble of joy within me gradually succumbing to the disease of dissatisfaction and shattered dreams.
In the four years of my engineering college, I learnt that adulting was rough, and dead boring. With a handful of girls in the entire faculty (ten in total out of a whopping strength of 350), I gradually accustomed myself to LAN gaming conversations and midnight soccer sessions. When data structures and automata strove to confuse me and my C++ codes bombed and error-ed out, I took refuge in memes and learnt to be okay with microprocessor labs while others of my age (lucky ones who had gone for non-engineering courses) danced to death in discotheques. I heard of hash brownies being enjoyed in the mountains of Kasol while I barely managed to enjoy a normal brownie from the campus canteen in between the class-packed days.
The process of me turning into an engineer was slow and steady. Two years into the course, one fine day, I suddenly experienced the joy of a successfully running code and my heart learned to beat at the mention of night-long hackathons. From a member of the Project Citizen in school, I had graduated to a crusader of open source software.
When others fell in love in restro-bars, we used decryption algorithms to decode the carefully encoded love letters and found them more romantic than roses or chocolates. When my contemporaries went on candlelight dinners, we speedily gobbled up burgers while making up revision schedules in libraries. Our love was expressed less through teddy bears and more via answers exchanged during sessional tests and functional pieces of code sent over private VPNs.
There is a whole other kit that a literary aficionado and a female one at that, needs in order to survive in an engineering college, starting with a good set of books and a diary- yes, a diary where she can write her heart out. My kit included my Jane Austens, Ayn Rands, Jostein Gaarders and a blog that I chose to stick to all the four years, collecting experiences and writing, writing, writing as much as I could; sometimes code and at times, stories.
You can find this-once-engineer-and-now-writer’s stories on an online diary of sorts at http://www.aashisha.com | https://linktr.ee/the_mind_bin
Aashisha Chakraborty hails from a world of marshmallow moons, candy clouds and lemony lakes. She thrives on a diet of sentiments and dreams about meeting Rumi in the fields beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing.
Aashisha is fond of exploring genres and has written for the Readomania book of erotica, romance, historical fiction, mythology and crime. She is the winner of Times of India Write India Season 2 for Shobhaa De and among the top 6 for both Manu Joseph and Twinkle Khanna. Her short stories have been published in various Readomania anthologies like ‘Defiant Dreams’, ‘Mock Stalk and Quarrel’ and ‘Twilight’s Children’ and in e-books by Women’s Web and InsideIIM. Her articles have appeared in The Hindu and she has freelanced for websites like Being Cyrus. Her poems have also been selected in Kaafiya, the Delhi Poetry Festival.
She works as a zonal sales manager in Bharti Airtel and holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi. A computer engineer from Jamia Millia Islamia, she has also had about two years of experience as a software engineer.
Her debut novel by Rupa Publications is due to be published soon.