It’s not that I really enjoy writing these posts about my life and times at Sathyabama because it reminds me of moments I want to forget. Trust me, if there is one thing in my life that I would like to change, it would be my grad college and if there is one mistake I regret the most, it’s filling up SIST on my list during AIEEE counselling 2004. I write these only to let the world know about the ugly place and the ugly faces that run it.
It might sound as if I am stretching things a bit too far. After all there were 1500 students in my batch, and 2000 in the one after that. Before me tens of thousands of students had received the degree with the same emblem printed on it and while I was there, the campus boasted of over 6000 students. I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly know one thing. Sathyabama tried to pull me back, push me deep and punch me hard. I don’t know how successful it was, but I do carry a few scars till date.
Chronologically the incident I am going to narrate here occurred much later in during my stint at the place but somehow I felt I should post it now because it says why I want to see the place destroyed and demolished and the people (the ones running it) there punished in the worst possible way.
I don’t remember the date exactly but if i am not wrong it was 18th of July 2007. We had just started with the 7th semester and it also marked the beginning of the placement season for us. That day we had appeared for the written test of the first company that visited our campus. I was as usual disinterested in anything to do with that place. So just a day before, I somehow got my passport photos done and had a new set of formals ready for interviews. It was about 4 o’ clock in the evening and we were waiting since 2 for the results to be declared. I saw my room mate Kartik calling me to one side of the half constructed auditorium. I went upto him and he told me that he had received a call from my mother. She had said that my dad is not well and is hospitalized but that he should give the news to me only after I reach back to my room. However he thought it would be better to let me know immediately as he could feel the panic in her voice.
Now this was the first time I had heard about my dad getting hospitalized and so I wasted no time in borrowing a cell and calling home. On picking up the call I heard my mom virtually breaking down on phone for the first time in life. She told me that dad had suffered a cardiac arrest and was undergoing angioplasty. For a moment I thought it was a nightmare and I wanted it to end right then. However moments later I realised that my mother is all alone in a city where we don’t have a single relative and few people to ask help from. If nothing, she needed a reassuring statement from me and while I spent the next 15 mins gauging the scene and making sure she takes care of herself, the first words I said were, “I will be there on the next flight to Baroda”.
It was decided. I had to be there as soon as possible. I discussed the whole issue with my roommates and we decided that I should appear in the interview the next day (I had cleared the written of course as declared at around 7 pm later that day) and leave on the next flight possible. Thanks to my dear friend Aditya, I was able to get a discounted ticket for 20th morning. Later in the night I was told my mom that by God’s grace, the angioplasty had been successful and things were under control. However I knew that she had had enough already to handle alone and I had to be there as soon as possible to take charge of things. So the next day i had to do two basic things –
1) Appear in the interview
2) Make sure that in case I don’t get through, I am permitted to skip the companies scheduled on the next few days and still remain eligible for placements when I return. (It was a rule in Sathyabama that one had to appear in all companies compulsorily unless he gets placed not abiding which would lead to ejection from the process)
Next morning after another reassuring conversation with my mother I was feeling much better and light headed. Dad was still supposed to be in the hospital for 4-5 days but was doing fine now.
So after appearing in the interview which went pretty fine, I approached the placement officer Mr. Arunachalam. He was initially too busy to listen to me. However, that was somewhat understandable. So I didn’t mind waiting. In the meanwhile I made sure I keep my part of the work ready. So I wrote an application and got it signed by my HoD. Later during the day, when I met him and told him my case along with the application, the first reply I received was –“No that’s not allowed!”
I said, “Yes sir, I know that’s not allowed under normal circumstances but under special circumstances there has to be some way out, right?”
He said,”Ya Ya I know I know! But I can’t simply allow that. Can you produce a proof? A medical certificate or something? Can you get a fax from your parents?”
Now I was beginning to lose it as I knew where this was going. I said, “Of course I will produce all that you require but how can I do that now? My dad is in hospital and Mom already has her hands full. How do expect me to get any of that now? I will submit all documents when I return.”
He did not seem convinced. I wonder what kind of person would ever have used such things as excuses. May be he himself, but somehow he wanted more assurance. But for what??? Bloody, proof for what??? It’s my life, my job. I should have every right to decide whether I want to sit for the company or not even otherwise unless of course it was a recession like in the current times. He told me to get permission from the Director.
Fortunately after an hour of waiting outside the Director’s office, I got my application signed by him. He was in a good mood. Thanks to the strike that had taken place a year earlier, at least this part of the job became easy otherwise this could well have proven to be the toughest thing because the Director was an unpredictable man with a skewed sense of logic.
So I was relieved now. I had the Director’s permission. Things should have been fine now. But how could the great Sathyabama book of rules allow that so easily. When I went back, I found a surprised Mr. Arunachalam ( surprised that I could get the Director’s sign) telling me,” Look Ma, I will try but cannot assure anything”
“Try? What’s there to try sir? I mean what else do you need? I have the Director’s permission too!! And you are the placement officer. It’s all upto you. Where does the word try figure in all this? Moreover, what’s really the problem here? Why is it so difficult for you to allow me?”
“See, the rule doesn’t permit me Ma. A Rule is a rule. It’s for everyone. Today you come to me for some reason, others will come with another. All have big reasons Ma. I have to handle so many such people. I don’t know how the Director signed this as this is not allowed at all under any situation. I will talk to him. Otherwise tomorrow he will question me only.“
“You’ll talk to him about what? To ask why did he sign my application? You mean he shouldn’t have? Sir, at least apply a little logic!! What am I supposed to do then?” I was losing it now. I just couldn’t believe what he had just said.
“OK OK...I am busy right now. I don’t have time. I said Ma, I will see...” and he left the place. And I gave a fuck to what he said. The next day I was off to home.
Fortunately, I never had to rely on his mercy. I got through the interview I had appeared in and after I returned I submitted all the proofs and documents for attendance purposes(then too under lots of questions over the authenticity and sufficiency of my documents though)