Dinesh and Bawa

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

IITB and me

Many years ago, i was a student of the very prestigious IIT Bombay pursuing my Master's degree in Mathematics. I would love to say that everything was great and i was doing well, but that was not the case... I had big expectations from an institute like IIT, hardly any of them were met! It was still the same old copy what the prof writes on the board and vomit it out on the answer sheet during exam time... Get good grades for accurate vomiting!

I was fed up with it... There are 4 professors in IIT who made me stick thru it: They were true teachers, giving a chance to the most uninterested student , giving their best at teaching and knowing that they can spark off a love for the subject even where there was no hope according to all the other teachers in the Maths Department... Their names are Dr D.V. Pai (he deserves a full entry on this blog and i will write about him later), Dr. M.C. Joshi, Dr. Amiya K. Pani (my guide for my MS thesis along with Dr. Joshi) and Dr. Rajni Joshi. There was also Prof. Murali Subramanian who was a brilliant brilliant teacher... Its so amazing that i can remember all their names and their classes as if it happened last week!

I would say almost all the other profs of the Maths dept totally sucked at teaching... they may have been geniuses and scholars in their own right, but i don't think they ever learned or cared to impart that passion for their subjects to their students...

In any case, i was about to give up on IITB, and had actually stopped attending lectures, when a wing mate (Kedar Sohoni) called me and said look i dont care if you are flunking, we need you for PAF!

PAF = Performing Arts Festival ... the HIGH point of extracurricular activities in IITB! Hostels are paired up with each other randomly and they have to put up an extravagant show! Music, Dancing, Dramatics, Sets, Lights, Acting... anything and everything that anyone knew how to do was showcased around a story... Hostel 5 needed me that year for music... I went back and that was the turning point... The 4 profs who i mentioned above saw me perform, decided that anyone who could play the piano that well, HAD to be interested and great at what he did and lectured me and cajoled me into giving my best shot... and i did! and in that semester i flunked 5 subjects out of 6 :) *deep gloom*

At the same time i was getting deeper and deeper into Art of Living... When i got back from my first Adv course, i couldnt stop talking about the Ashram, Guruji, Bangalore... and pretty soon had managed to get a few of my wing mates from IIT onto the next basic course... for the record, ramnik bansal was the first person to do the course after me...

I dont think i have desired anything more than becoming a teacher of the Art of Living, and the more i listened to Guruji's Knowledge tapes and the more i did my Kriya, the more i was falling (oops.. no rising) in love with everything around me... and hating IITB :) By and by i was made a teacher (another story for another time) and it became even more difficut to do academic work during the day and teach the fantastic Knowledge in the evenings...

One day (after the disastrous semester) i went up to Guruji and asked Him if i could "give up " my degree in IITB. I figured i could simply tell everyone that i went to IIT and omit to mention that i actually passed out of the institute :) ...

He laughed uproariously for almost a minute... I was wondering about what the joke was... and then very gently He said to me, Bawa, in order to "give up" something, you first need to have it! otherwise how will you give it up? He said i want you to go from success to success, not from failure to failure! Go and study for me!

And somehow i started to get better and even excel at my acads... and cleared IIT with very good grades! I got one of the highest grades for my MS thesis and huge amounts of appreciation from a lot of profs... even the ones who used to groan inwardly if i was in their class and would pass me simply so that they wouldn't have to see my face while i repeated the subject in the summer or the next semester :)

Once i had accepted IIT the way it was, i had a rip roaring time there... made lots of friends, did well on acads, did brilliantly at extra curriculars... and taught hundreds of students the Art of Living course...

I never applied for a job at the placement office of IITB... I already had the Best Boss in the World!!!! :)  

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20 comments:

Jyuthika said...

INSPIRING and LOVELY :)
My heart went hmm ummm umhhh umhhmm hmm while reading this one.. :)

even your experience during the first adv course was great, in the previous posts!! :)

Thank you for sharing these wonderful moments with us Bau :)

Jai Gurudev :)

Shikha said...

waooooooooo....
Its so true...dis whole craming n vomiting stuff in India doesn't do much good....that ws d reason I nvr bothered to study there(and happily let my friends who had eve half the brains take all d top ranks)
But as u said...these Rare genre of Teachers are always around to make you believe that you are a class apart......
BTW...the good news is that your last post has inspired me enough to start blogging again(never wrote more than 3 posts..hehe)will launch it as soon as i get free wid my examss.....or maybe on guruji's bday ;)

Venkatesh Velugubantla said...

awesome.. [:)]

Anonymous said...

Love you .. for your honesty and clarity .. and everything .. and for who you are ...

Kaushik said...

Dear Bawa, Thank you for sharing your experience, it definitely inspires us. It reminds me of Paramahamsa Yoganands´s predicament in "AoaY"!

Lots of Love & JGD,
Kaushik

Raghavan said...

Another heart-felt, intimate, knowledge-filled gem Bawa ! As a student, I could truly appreciate some of your sharing. The part about "I attended IIT" was hilarious -- very American :) Say just whats needed ! It was also amazing to hear that IITs have some of the same fallacies that the institutes outside have .
What Guruji said to you was amazing...i too have felt the conflict about studies Vs AOL and felt greatly relieved on hearing what G said to you !....
Please.....more and more of this intimate sharing and Guru stories .....

Jai Guru Dev,

Streax said...

Jai Gurudev!!

Pranams to dinesh bhaiya and you.. :)

Best to way to know about bawa-a student to a bawa-a teacher.... these posts are going to help us.. ;) keep posting.. :)

:) :)


BTW the new look is just great.. i would say.. a reall good surprise!!

Vinod Patil said...

Hi Bau its really inspiring experience. The way your life has turned from IIT , just an awesome and beautifull experience.

Anupam Gupta said...

jai gurudev bau...

u know bau...NOW we are talking on this blog....now its getting more interesting day by day....

this post is something i always wanted to ask u about...about how your time was in IIT...i dnt know y but for those who do not egt into IIt(science stream atleast) its quite a sort of enigma...and its quite nice to know that its just another run of the mill place with some extra ordinarily talented people(like yourself)...gives quite a perspective....

anyways..
love
anupam.

Anantha said...

Amazing!

Vishesh Jain said...

THE NEW LOOK RRRRRROOOOOOOCKKKKKKKKKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

:) :)

jgd
love n gratitude

Bhaskar Jha said...

Dearest Bau..
This post is very Inspiring & absolutely True.The same happens here in my college IT-BHU and today I completed my final sem.. so that means B Tech over.. God! I feel so relieved.. so Free!! NO more cramming-&-vomiting.. :)

The new look is simply Superb!! I have added the link to this blog in my igoogle home page, I check it everyday without fail.

I am coming to celebrate Guruji's b'day in Ashram.. and soon I'll b a Banglorean..
Hope to catch you and Dinesh Bhaiyya in Ashram!!

Lotz of Love,
Jai Gurudev!!

milan said...

bau sir
can't believe u have failed seriously!!!
after reading this article i have decided come what may
i will write topology paper n will pass with good marks if i get good marks in that the credit goes to u !! need ur, dinesh sir, guruji's blessings that's it

arvind_cool21 said...

--- I figured i could simply tell everyone that i went to IIT and omit to mention that i actually passed out of the institute :) ...---
Hmmm..hmmm....this is so funny...and also kinda thought out... (dunno..which way though ;-)

JGD

gitanjali said...

I love how u tell a story Bawa. I love you too. Yes, we have the best boss in the world. You're story is reapeating with me. But I tell myself, I am doing this Phd thing for him.

love
Gitanjali

Anonymous said...

wanted to share a perspective from the "other" side - faculty side - it seems to me that all that most students are interested in doing nowadays is - "vomiting" !! Your interestingly titled talk "Study for knowledge" will i hope be the beginning of a massive (re)-transformation of perception of Study and Knowledge ..

though i share to an extent some of your perceptions, also wanted to share some others, on iitb - it was there that i was learnt of "open book exams" where no amount of information could help and only understanding would; about profs who trusted you not to cheat, they'd let you go for dinner in the middle of a massive marathon exam; about people who were so very much in love with their subjects, etc etc .. but perhaps i should wait a while for your posts on your favourite profs! ...

Niveditha Shekar said...

Hi Bawa!
I am a new member of the AOL family. I happened to come across this blog yesterday. Must say, VERY INSPIRING. I love the way you share every anecdote. Awesome! These posts are soooo good that I just feel like reading them again and again.
Cheers
Jai Gurudev!

Monica said...

waah Bawa, how inspiring. you really teach us how to be an ideal follower of Guruji's words :D and thankfully, the dearest and BEST BOSS is with all of us. Thanks to Him :D Our life becomes one beautiful story...

Anonymous said...

hahaha

Prakirtee said...

too good :) specially when you asked Guruji if you can give up IIT ! ;)

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