I am reminded of a snippet from a famous Gujarati poem, which goes like this:

મને એ જ સમજાતું નથી કે આવું શાને થાય છે,
ફૂલડાં ડૂબી જતાં ને પથ્થરો તરી જાય છે.

Meaning: I don’t know why this happens, flowers sink and stones stay afloat.

There are broadly two reasons why people come to IITB – education and/or placements. And IITB hasn’t contented either one of them.

Although there are many facets in education itself, let me focus on academics which is the primal aspect. Simply put, academics at IITB suck, atleast in most branches. Except some branches (read CS and Elec), there are no branches which cover both theoretical and practical aspects holistically. Most branches focus on only theoretical knowledge (euphemism for rote learning) and neglect the practical applications. For example, let’s take a 9 pointer in Mechanical Engineering. He will draw Rankine and Sterling cycles even when woken up from sleep. Ask him the types of compressors out there or criteria for selection of pumps and he will flounder. Better yet, ask him a case study based on some problem in a plant and he will scratch his brains to no avail. Of course, there are people who are better than this because of all the extra efforts they have taken to be closer to the industry but they are in a minority.

Let’s move on to a topic of wider debate – placements. Contrary to what I had thought, placements at IITB also suck. Before sitting for placements, I had this notion (ruthlessly proved false) that placements would be more or less a meritocratic affair, with some polt* being thrown here and there. But what I saw on the “coveted” day 1 slot 1 was astounding. It was a total bloodbath, probably worse than that. Even Frank Underwood comes across as more empathetic. I won’t reveal what exactly transpired but the gist of the story is that placements are a combined endsem exam of Luck 101 and Polt 101. Nothing else. Read that again. Nothing else.

As Tyler Durden would have put it, “You are not your CGPA, you are not your POR, you are not your awards, you are the fate lines in your hand, you are the network you exploit.”

I can go on cribbing about these things but I won’t, because ultimately, everyone has to be a part of this system, however rotten that might be. While efforts can be made to improve this, the onus is on the recruitment procedure of certain corporate firms and we have no say over it.

There is nothing more unsettling to me than the vision of brilliant folks not getting what they deserve. And there are many such “collateral damages” in this December. But as is said, everything happens for the best.

In a way, this is actually the microcosm of what is to come ahead in life. So, better be prepared. 😛 😉

*polt- a word in IITB used to refer to daily politics/dirty networking etc.

P.S. From what I gather, this situation is common across all IITs but I can’t comment on that.