NOTE: Those who are reading this story for the first time, please check PROJECT-PART 1 before proceeding any further.
A teacher has many facets-a friend during fun, a stern disciplinarian when we cross limits, a story teller when we are bored and last but definitely the best, a mentor during dire situations. One such person in our lives at college was Mr. Jyothi Swaroopan. There are many reasons why we could have liked him, but we like him because he doesn’t say anything against our antics and even understands us more than anyone in the college and he is a kind person at heart. He was our life savior. The day after our little fiasco at the ‘First Review’, we met him. The moment he saw us walking into the lab he started laughing. That laugh had all emotions-joy, amusement, sympathy, sheer fun, disbelief and it was so pure that we all joined in. There is so much difference between laughing at us and laughing with us. After exchanging pleasantries, he said-
“I have something for you guys. Will you do a project in college? Under Mur….”
“NO…sir.” -cut in Pradeep almost immediately.
Jyothi Sir leaned back and smiled as if he expected this answer from us.
“Look, this one is much better than your useless projects you buy on the street. Murthy sir will be your project guide and his friend will give you an already completed project along with complete report. You just have to work on a module in it in college for 2 hours a day. Work for couple of weeks and you are done. And mind you, it’s cheaper. You just have to pay 6000 bucks.”
Our eyes sparkled. It was not the project or the fact that it’s already finished that interested us. The fact that it’s just going to cost us 1500 bucks each set our minds racing about how much we are all going to save for our parties. We readily agreed and he set us up with Murthy Sir.
Murthy sir is one hell of a character that it would take a separate blog to discuss him. He was new to our college, joining just that semester and a staunch Tamil-ian. His English would sound like Tamil and his Tamil was Greek to all of us. I would be exaggerating if I say he hated us but definitely he didn’t like us. After Murthy sir gave us his friend’s address, Subbaraju(Banda) promptly went and collected the project report. We had no project one day before and suddenly we had the whole project report to boast of. Strange are the ways of life. It was a simulation project, where we had to execute a program on system based on the algorithm we design. That person said, he was still working on it and he would be delivering us the complete code at the last and expected us to work on the code everyday at college. Those who have read this story till here would have already guessed, we didn’t work even a single day on the code.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months as the day of the second review was fast nearing. This time however, we were determined not to repeat our earlier typing mistakes. So strong was our determination, that we took photo copies of the project report on OHP slides (no power point then?) and got ready for the presentation. The phrase ‘learning from mistakes’ should have gone extinct after this. However Subbaraju(banda) was very skeptical about this and on the eve of our second review, we all met our guide Murthy sir and showed him the slides. Without even looking at them, he said “Very good. Excellent! Good work guys. All the best for your presentation. See you there” and scampered away. So much for being a guide.
The purpose of second review was to show the progress of the project to the college authorities. This time, thankfully the HOD was not present among the lecturers in the room. Our presentation soon started and I still hadn’t got over my stage fear, was sweating like a man just out of bath. We were not interrupted this time. After we finished presenting, I mustered all my courage and looked at the faces of our professors. Well until then I was looking at the wall behind them and explaining. What I saw in their faces was definitely not what I expected-amusement. Slowly and with a steady voice, our assistant HOD said-
“Everything is fine. But where did you photocopy it from?”
“You had the material? Or was it a book?”- Clearly amused.
“But son, you should not photocopy like this. You should write on the OHP slides with pen and present it. Right?” he said kindly.
“I TOLD YOU SIR. I TOLD YOU. These are the students I taaalked (talked) about. Fit for nothing sir, useless I say.”
All four of us turned our heads to the person who said this. It was Murthy sir-Our own project guide.
“I told them. DO NOT XEROX. Did they listen? No no why will they listen? Useless sir I say. All are useless…they didn’t do project even for one day I say. Today they come for presenting. They think they are heroes. I say they are zeros I say.”- He screamed, shaking hysterically.
We didn’t understand it then; he was merely trying to save his ass because he was afraid that we might let out to everyone that it was he who gave us the project report. His tirade continued for few more minutes with everyone including Jyothi sir looking aghast at him and then the asst. HOD kindly asked us to leave advising us to do what our guide tells us to. I went out scratching my head, confused whether he was reprimanding us or advising-he was too kind. Pradeep and Subbaraju(potti) were shaking with anger once they came out. Immediately Pradeep asked Jyothi sir to come out and asked him angrily-
“What’s wrong with him sir? We showed him the slides sir, before going inside”-with his hands stretched wide.
“Relax. Go home now. We will…”
“Sir we want to talk to Murthy Sir. How can he talk like that, sir? If he had problems with us, he should have told us before right?” said Pradeep. It was a silent scream-it was not too loud and yet everyone around could feel the pitch of his voice.
“Whaat did you say? Whaat did you say?” cut in Murthy sir as he came out of the conference hall.
“Sir, We had showed you the…”
“Shut up useless fellows. Fit for nothing I say”-screamed Murthy sir.
“Do…not…call…us…useless” said Pradeep giving equal stress to each word, showing his fore finger at the lecturer.
All hell broke loose.
In any part of the world it’s a career suicide and utmost disrespect to show the fore finger to a lecturer while talking. Murthy sir and Pradeep started shouting at each other, which started with English and slowly graduating to their own mother tongues-Pradeep in telugu and sir in tamil. It’s a fact that when you are angry or happy, you always speak in your own language. Subbaraju(potti) joined the tirade and even before anyone could realize, a huge mob surrounded us-right from all the students of EEE department to rest of the lecturers from the conference room. Jyothi Swaroopan sir was holding Murthy sir and pulling him back while I and Subbaraju(banda)were trying to control the other two but in vain. Jyothi sir, being the senior most took things in his hand, he screamed at us to leave immediately without delay. After few tense moments, I and Subbaraju(Banda) successfully pulled the other two out of the department while they were shouting at Murthy sir at will. Thank god, none of the lecturers know Telugu. We walked out of the department, out of the college gate, to the shop opposite the college. With anger on the tip of our noses, our faces red and sweaty, we settled down on the chairs at the shop. I took a water packet and washed my face. Mopping my face dry, I looked at Subbaraju(banda)and we both had the same thought- ‘we were back to square one. We lost this project as well and we had 2 months left for our engineering’.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Picture courtesy: Google.com
The next part: Project-Final Touch