Confessions of a Manipal student : I Am Not Who I Really Seem To Be

I am not really an Engineering Student; I’m yet another confused youngster who’s just smiling and waving at an uncertain future.

I have a confession to make. I am not really who I seem to be. No, I’m not trying to imply that I’m some secret Government spy or whatever. Just that I’m not what the world considers me to be. And no, I’m perfectly sane, thank you. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not really what I seem to be on the surface: An Engineering Student.

No, I wasn’t forced to take up Engineering as a kid by an overzealous set of parents. On the contrary, my parents had given me the complete liberty to be whatever I wished to do for a living, as long as it was an honest means of earning one’s keep.

I am not really an Engineering Student; I’m yet another confused youngster who’s just smiling and waving at an uncertain future.

To be honest, I had no clue what engineering would really be like. I had this vague concept – and it makes me feel very embarrassed to be sharing something that was hitherto known of me – that engineering was something along the lines of what’s shown in 3 Idiots. Kind of like, have fun with friends, go and take life easy, study at the last minute, and go out there and get a decent enough GPA for your future.

Don’t mistake this for me cribbing. I’m not trying to make it look like none of it has been as I had thought it to be. I’m fortunate enough to have been there and had my hand in almost every kind of pot (pot here being vessel and not “Marijuana wala Pot”) that Manipal has to offer; be they extra-curricular, academics or physical activity. At the risk of sounding a bit haughty, (or as some in Manipal would say, showing one’s Chaud) I’ve been able to maintain an 8-plus GPA for the most part. I’ve met some of the most unique people from all sorts of random corners of India and grown as a person, leaps and bounds in their company. And I have realized only now that I had been a complete frog in the well prior to my Manipal years.

And yet, there’s a feeling of emptiness, one of a lack of sense of achievement. At times when the Music had died down, when the euphoria of the alcohol-induced high faded away, when all the friends said their good nights and farewells and set off along their merry way, when I drag my person onto the threshold of my apartment and I set myself on my bed, my field of vision dissolving into the darkness overhead, I ask myself – “Am I really doing what I had always wanted?”

I don’t know if I’m the only one that thinks along such lines. It’s been two complete years, I’m halfway there, and I wonder at times if Mechanical Engineering was my true calling. I understand the concepts, have most of my doubts clarified, and yet, I find myself in the least bit interested in what’s going on in the subject. Not that it’s my lecturers’ fault, I wonder at times if I have the right aptitude for the field.

I have made many a summation of my skills – Drawing, unfortunately isn’t one among them. I can’t draw a straight line to save my life. Hell, even an artistically inclined Orangutan stands a better chance to draw better than me. There, I said it. I lack the most fundamental skill that all decent Mechanical Engineers ought to have – a sense of visualization of the graphical sort. And yet, here I am, stumbling and groping my way in the darkness, trying to get through every course of Engineering Graphics, Machine Drawing and CAD in the process of obtaining the degree that lies at the end of that proverbial rainbow.

And it doesn’t help matters that my technical aptitude is next to nil. Many a time I find myself zoning out with a lab in progress, debating and considering the next movie to watch or the next novel to read, and barely does my train of thought leave it’s station that I’m yanked back into reality with an obscure question of how a certain turbine works or how a certain fuel injection delivery mechanism operates. And at times, I find myself rebuked for a silly answer with syntax of the following sort:

“Mark my words boy; Keep neglecting your technical and you’ll eventually find yourself in the IT sector and not a core company.”

Perhaps, I will end up in a core company; perhaps it is fate that I end up in an IT sector job. Or perhaps it would neither be both. And right now, that’s the option I’m banking on.

I guess I’ve been feeling way too disenchanted with everything that has gone on of late, may be I’ve been reading too much of Paulo Coelho. My interest in his “Warrior of Light” philosophy has piqued of late. I find myself wondering much in the vein of the protagonists of his rambling novels, what does it really matter how many cc a Maruti Engine is? Would it really change the fabric of reality had it been 1 cc different? Would it make the world as we know stop to exist? But I am told that this is the way the world works, how order emerges from chaos, and how civilization is capable of standing on its own two emaciated and frail feet.

At times, I feel like screaming into oblivion telling the vast cosmos of my intent to run far away, free of responsibility, to be carefree of all the tasks that have been saddled on my shoulders that will only broaden in the years to come. What is the meaning of true freedom? Is it to be able to do whatever you want? Come on, we must be kidding ourselves to believe that to be the case. Indeed, true freedom is being stuck to the set of commitments that you’d like to do and not you’re asked to be saddled with, or some shit like that. I am not really an Engineering Student; I’m yet another confused youngster who’s just smiling and waving at an uncertain future.

Alas, the night is still young, and this tempest that has raged of late will abate perhaps, for there are other loftier battles, like the debate on the best way to encash Domino’s Pizza vouchers.

And yet, in some hidden corner of time, I will have looked at the stars, and asked myself, “Is this really where I want to be? Is there really what I want to be? Is that really what I ought to be doing with my life? Is there anybody else out there with thoughts of a similar kind?”

About Vinayak Prabhu 19 Articles
Change cant be given to you everytime. You yourself must bring change. A Student at the Manipal Institute of Technology
  • Swapnil Sharma

    Beautifully expressed! I can totally relate to your story as i have been going through the same set of thoughts. I have been more than a decade in field of dentistry, where every decision was my own decision, no 1 forced me into it . But now i feel that after investing so much of time and effort i am still not satisfied

  • Sahil Chaudhary

    An interesting read!

  • Alpana

    Being a communication and journalism student in manipal i must say that a writers thoughts run through you. If your doing engineering then it does not mean you have to end up in the IT sector or even a core job. You may even match a mix of your brilliant writing skills with engineering. But do write more, it draws a sort of warm inspiration upon people.

  • Kaushik

    u shud have rather perused ur career in philosophy! 😛 ne wys beautifully xpressed! 😀

  • anonymous

    ever thought of being a writer ??? 😉 😀

  • Harsha

    Wow!

  • Sanjana

    I can so relate to this.