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My First Sem – Vikesh Siddhu

Its a particularly uncanny day today. Some amount of wind has been blowing and it keeps getting moist now and then, sometimes it pours just a little but then stops.It wets your face but not to the extent that your face looks wet, it just feels wet. Probably it will pour out and things will be in equilibrium.I can’t remember the last time the weather represented my state of mind so aptly, uncanny indeed.  These memories of IISER, Mohali have indeed been taking some space in my mind. It would be best to let them out.

I remember the first day I joined, what excitement we had. We were in MGSIPAP campus in LH 2 and Kiran and Mohit were giving the welcome address to the new students. There was a round of speeches by Sameep and Amol and finally all of us were asked to introduce ourselves. Everyone of us stood up and told why we were at IISER, some said they wanted to try it out and would like to see whether the IISER faculty would be able convince them to stay at IISER, others said that they were very passionate about science and liked the idea of IISER. Some were like me who just wanted to have fun. But there are a few incidents here that need some mention.

One particular guy said that he was essentially here because of a faculty member who had  ‘daadi mooch and lambe-labme baal’, that he had heard him once before and since then wanted to come to IISER(this guy turned out to be my room-mate for the next two years). Some other guy challenged the MS-07 batch to a cricket match(which to the best of my memory never happened the way he wanted it), and that was our orientation, it genuinely felt like a closely knit family.<br/>
Once this was all over we went back to our hostels, which was 100 steps away from the main building. We decked up in our rooms, there were three of us in one room. One of my room mates you have heard about, the other one was the a guy who challenged faculty to convince him to stay here. Yeah the three of us were quite heterogeneous.

By the evening we were all down in the mess for dinner, brimming with excitement. Everyone wanted to know each other and explore their new surroundings. The common topic was obviously what rank had people got in some or the other entrance exam, what other place had people left to come here and finally how were to go about ragging(Yes some of us were scared).
Post dinner we all(this means 20 odd people) went to Sector 7 to have milk shake, this walk was also quite amusing since, we were first years fresh out of school we all had our idea about science(misguided they were, I am sure they still are) and one of the guys(lets not name him) gave his ‘idea about science’ to another guy(who later left the institute, I wonder why?) all through the 20 minute walk. I must tell you at that point in time we realized we had a theorist on out batch and surely after this science discussion all of us really needed a couple of milk shakes.
Our worries about ragging were answered the very next morning, MAT 101 Group Theory was our first lecture and it need not be emphasized that the level at which Prof. Passi started the lecture was orders of magnitude higher than our level of understanding. A tall and towering figure, Prof. Passi just blew our mind(or blasted our mind if you like Russel Peters!).

We eventually did go to our seniors to ask them to rag us. I remember Nikhil and me had gone to Bharat Bhiya so that he could take our intro and we could get over with ragging. No ragging to took place, we were just asked to memorize the names of our seniors(which was not very hard) and that was it. I must say all our preconceived notions about ragging were dispelled that very moment.
God(if he exists), I remember these things so clearly. The books on my shelf  remind me that my first semester is over. Its been three years since, Now I am a fourth year student sitting in his single room in Sector 81 Mohali, Looking out at the weather.
I must say todays weather is indeed strange, its moist and your face feels wet, but it doesn’t look wet.


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