Earlier in this series: S01E02: The Blue Light Area
Kids, you must be wondering why there was such a hype about IITs in our times. But you must realize the fact that unlike these days when there are more than 132 IITs spread across the nation, some running from run-down government school buildings (some of the coaching centres have better infrastructure….so what, Google and Microsoft started from garages), there were only five IITs in our times. Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Madras. No one had even heard the names of places like IIT Ramgarh, IIT Kaimganj, IIT Ghaso, IIT Jungpura and the likes. Still to better understand the reasons behind the IIT madness, you should know about the social and economic fabric of our country at the turn of the 21st century.
Kids, India’s course post independence can broadly be divided into three periods based on the so-called Silicon Classification. From 50s till mid 80s, we were basically submerged neck-deep in sand (silica), singing mere desh ki dharti sona ugle…ugale heere moti… but producing crap, licking dust in war against China (yes, China is the space which is shown as blank on Google maps) and playing the evergreen game of mud-slinging with Pakistan. After that came the period of Silicon Valley Civilization when Indian engineers from IITs completely revolutionized the contact lens industry. It is not that the Indian engineers were any better than their American counterparts, just that four years of studies at IIT totally sucked the life out of them and they looked so nerdy that no girl ever came even close to them and as such they had all the time in the world to increase India’s contribution to science from just a zero to two. As they say, behind every successful IITian, there is (absence of ) a woman. And you won’t believe that it was a woman only who ushered India into its third and probably the most important phase.
Kids, as you know India had always been a patriarchal society. The movement for emancipation of women was spearheaded by Rakhi Sawant (yep, the same Aunty whose Swaymvar Season 37 is currently running on NDTV) who got massive silicon implants to give expression to the tied-down emotions of the long suppressed Indian women. I still remember her famous speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, main is dharti ki beti hoon…yeh shareer mitti ka bana hai, mitti me mil jaana hai. (Just wondering if one can donate implants on death.)
Anyway, it was during the second phase that your superDad decided to get his ass tattooed with the illustrious IIT mark. Afterall, I fulfilled all the pre-requisites. At the age of seven, I could add hundred seven-digit numbers in my head; when I turned ten, I remembered the atomic masses of all elements correct to three decimal places; at fifteen, while my peers wasted time watching WWF and playing cricket, I spent hours trying to solve Fermat’s Last Equation; at eighteen when I appeared for IIT entrance exam, I could solve the Schrodinger Wave equation blind-folded while other boys were too busy trying to unravel the mysteries of Dil Dosti etc. (They eventually matured to Love Sex and Dhokha while I proceeded to Einstein’s Relativity Mechanics). I had no life, no hobbies (other than studies of course), and no friends (but books. Aren’t they a man’s best friend? My peers agree but I don’t really consider PlayBoy as a book). So, even before the results came out, everyone knew that I was the perfect IIT material. And I didn’t disappoint them.