Friday, June 4, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle - IITM survival guide

This post is intended for freshers at IITM. If you are not a fresher, please do read it and also encourage freshers you know, to read this post so that it can help as many people as possible. This post is a survival guide for freshers at IIT Madras. The following are the various issues where freshers need orientation.

The rooms at IITM are just awesome, they are neatly tiled and well furnished. A cot, a chair, a spacious wardrobe, a computer table, book shelves completely fill up the 3.5'x5' room you get. 3.5 and 5.5 feet may seem small but the rooms are spacious as they are 14' high. The room can accommodate up to 4 people on chairs.
Watch-out:- There have been incidents where snakes have been seen at the windows of rooms. Only 68% of snake bites are fatal and hence this need not be a major concern.

The food in IITM is so awesome that it requires an entire post to describe it and hence here is the post that will answer all your queries. For people who don't like mess food, there are alternatives. The author doesn't know much about the quality of mess food these days because his lunch has mainly been in the fruit-shop consisting of water-melons.

The LAN gets cut at 12:00, that being the only source of your entertainment for freshers, the seniors of IITM considering their needs have arranged for an alternate way of entertainment. Every night seniors delightedly invite them to their rooms for the first few days when they miss normal life the most. Other seniors are also invited for the party. The seniors usually dance in a group or sing funny songs to entertain you. Sometimes they sing and dance at the same time for the song that freshers suggest. There are question answer rounds where seniors answer your questions. That is when you find out important things like their AIR, their room-wife and so on. Some times, educational videos involving biology, chemistry, physics etc are shown. At the end, you get to give a cute name to your senior for example instinct, duck, C-Pro, lighter, Juga, KP, monkey etc.
watch out:
Sleeping for less than 6 hours a day turns you into a zombie. Make sure you use your class-timings [refer paragraph below] wisely.

IITM is known for its huge classrooms and some classrooms can accommodate over 1000 people at a time. Such classrooms were built because the number of students coming in are rising every year. Currently the class strength is around 200 and the freshers end up making a lot of friends in their first year.
A few courses have remote learning programs where a professor teaches 3 huge classes at the same time. The prof stays and teaches in the centre room and a video of the prof is played in two neighbouring classes. Teachers assistants however are present everywhere looking out for students who talk to each other in class. They are then dealt with seriously.
Catch a seat early, you may have to with a girl otherwise. How is that bad? You will know soon.
Do not talk in the class, the professors give punishments and you will be made to kneel down before everyone.
95% attendance is compulsory. This means you can skip at most one class.

Usually IITians end up being in big companies and they sit in their cubicles in front of a computer with a cool chair. They don't realise the value of hard-work, hence there is a workshop that students can use to realise what hard work is all about. Most of the 'professors' at the workshop take it too seriously and insist the students on writing notes, reports and manuals. By the end of the course, the student will be a qualified construction worker, painter, miner, carpenter, electrician, moulder, musician, beautician, lift-boy and of course badly injured. All the things that you will ever need in your life are taught in the workshops.
Before hitting the nail, take your finger off it.
Do not make fun of the electrician in English, he does manage to understand.

Most of the evenings are spent playing sports. Wall climbing, bungee jumping are the most famous ones at IITM. Skating (pipe and rails), wave surfing, mountain climbing are less preferred. Sports are compulsory for freshers as 2 years of IIT preparation would have made them unfit. The sports are quite safe in IITM. Very few fatalities are reported every year.

Here are something you will have to really watch out for.
Inter-hostel violence:
Some IITians are really aggressive, they go to the extent of scolding a hostel's mother even if that didn't make sense to a sane guy. Usually fights break out in the hostel zone over who gets to win Shroeter although the winner of the fight doesn't really get anything except a victim or two. Many innocent people from Ganga were slaughtered by people from Tapti after they cheated in a wall-climbing match.
Carry a weapon with you always. You can convert to Sikhism, that helps. You can defend yourself with a Kripan.
Always attack first, do not defend!

As you may know now, IITM was established illegally on forest land. There are a wide range of creatures like monkeys, black-buck, mongoose, spotted deer and of course their predators. There are just 12 tigers left in the forest now and the numbers are fast declining but since the number of students have gone up in recent years, their chances of survival have improved.
Wear anti tiger masks, always travel in groups and always take an adult with you.

The girls in IITM the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. You will enjoy your stay at IITM. In fact you will have so many options that you will start singing "Kisko pyaar karoon, kaise pyaar karoon, woh bhi hai, yeh bhi hai, tu bhi hai, haye!". Although endangered, the numbers are rising each year. Writing any further about them will probably result in an unprovoked attack and hence the author stops at this stage.
The author has to watch out now, the wrath of the goddesses are about to follow him, enjoy! you are safe.

Apart from the above topics, there are a few more that are worth discussing like festivals (Shaastra, Saarang and some unknow management festival), the labs at IIT Madras, the library, Schroeter, Tech-soc, Lit-soc, Centre for Innovation, Sustainability network but the author just ran out of ink and hence won't be writing about any of the above insignificant topics.

No matter what happens, always be proud of yourself and remember, you have cleared the JEE and you now are an IITian, just like every one else there.