Tying up the Loose Ends

The second day in Bhubaneswar, I had left my college classmates living in a PG far from the CTTC campus, to live in a hostel room within the campus, with David. Harry had followed me along with his friend. I didn’t like either of them. Later, two other boys, Garold and Derek came in. Thus, the six of us were going to be month-long room-mates.

The two boys were from the same state, laughing and jovial all the time. Garold, a self-taught break-dancer, had already gained recognition in the state reality shows, and was hoping to break the ice with a national platform. He was studying Mechanical Engineering in a private college of Balasore. The other, Derek, son of a military-man and a student of Civil Engineering in a local polytechnic college, was the inquisitive and energetic one.

The day we moved in to the room, i.e.,1st of June, was Sunday. Me and David wandered out in the evening. The nearest marketplace, ‘Shailshree Vihar‘, was about a kilometre from the CTTC campus. Outside the campus, Google Maps in my phone began working. We walked to the marketplace, bought copies for our classes. I also got myself an earphone.

2nd June

The next day, Monday, we were to complete the formalities for the admission.

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East or West, Hostel is the Best !!

The 7:20 am Falaknuma Express dropped me at Bhubaneswar Station by 2:30 pm on 31st May, Saturday. I had to stay there for a month, learning two softwares. My destination, CTTC, was supposedly close to Mincy’s college, KIIT. Its nearest landmark was something called ‘InfoCity’, I had found out from Google Maps.

The entrance of InfoCity

The entrance of InfoCity

Satellite View

Location of CTTC on Google Maps

Mincy had advised me to get an auto. None of the auto-drivers knew CTTC. But they knew KIIT. The place was quite far from the station, and they demanded a minimum of Rs. 150 (~$ 2.5) to take me there. Instead I headed towards the bus stop nearby, and asked around a bit. These people were really helpful. They knew InfoCity, and directed me to take a particular bus, which dropped me at Patia Square.
CTTC was 3-4 kilometers or so from Patia Square. As I was looking around with a huge luggage, an auto approached me. Thus I finally reached the gates of ‘Central Tool Room and Training Centre, Bhubaneswar‘.
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Another Vacation !!!

So, my two-month-long summer vacation began on 7th May 2014, thus completing one year since this story took off !
Thank you, thank you…

It’d been a great run, throughout the sophomore year. Another year of surviving college, enjoying hostel life, being seniors, making friends. We had grown, no more mere ‘first-years’, now experienced, independent.

This vacation was no less epic than the one a year ago…
However this time, the plans were less recreational and more academic.
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My Birthday Treat

Among all the March Mayhem, there was the 20th anniversary of the day I graced (or disgraced) the earth with my existence. That is, my 20th birthday.

During school, I’ve never quite ‘celebrated’ my birthday. You know, with cake, balloon, party, presents, etc etc. Probably because my birthday always fell on the holidays, generally on the day our annual results !! Neither do I mention the date to people unnecessarily.

So, coming in college too, that was maintained, thanks to my roomies. I asked them to not to make a big deal out of it, and they didn’t. Of course, I had to lure them by the promise of a treat.
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Mia's Birthday Present

Mia’s Birthday Present

The spring semester was a funny time. In January, I started off with something I had never laid my hands on, Autonomous Robotics !! Sure, it didn’t go too well, but it was fun.

And once, during a DJ night at a college fest, I was officially drunk, and ended up dancing with Brian, Mia and the rest of their troupe. ‘Officially’ drunk though, ’cause my room-mates said that I was as crazy as I’m normally.

And there was the time when everybody began changing their names and profile photos on facebook. Some became their favourite politician, celebrity, or some iconic professor of the college. Our news-feeds turned into a crazy mess !!

Sometime then, Mia had her birthday.
A few weeks before that, Brian went crazy, taking a heavy toll on our peace. He was trying to determine a perfect birthday gift for Mia.

At first, the plan was to make a collage, but apparently someone was already doing it.
Then Brian struck the idea of making a whole website for her !! It was to describe the various stages of their friendship, a sort of digital yearbook.

Brian entrusted me with writing up the basic content for the site. He promised to tell me everything about their friendship later on.
And Brian wanted to add some image-clicking thingy in it, so he began studying that stuff a lot.

interviewSo, one fine evening, we sat on the roof of our mess, and Brian began narrating the story of his friendship with Mia since first year. How they met, their first call, the birthday parties, and tons of other stuff that happened during the span of their friendship till then. I still have the recordings of those narrations in my phone !!

So, my idea was to start off the website with an introductory video for the various sections of the site. Every page would’ve had some smaller video or GIF describing an incident.
So, I made the characters for the video, got a basic video-editing software, saw a few tutorials, and with my knowledge of Powerpoint, made an introductory video.

At that point, Brian and I had a little stand-off about some petty matter. So, I told Brian that I couldn’t help him about the gift, as I was busy studying for my Mid-Sems. (That was a pure lie. I should’ve gotten a medal for wasting time during that semester)

Also, when he asked for the files, I said I had deleted them. (Actually, I had hidden the files under different name in my laptop)
Ultimately, the plan for Mia’s website transcended to a single video roughly based on that earlier introductory video, that Brian made mostly himself.


A glimpse of the 4-minute video that Brian finally made

However, on Mia’s Birthday, the video froze while Brian was checking it for one last time before showing it off to Mia. Apparently, Brian remade the video, and that worked out all good in front of Mia.
So, all’s well that ends well.

Concerned individuals may note that offering people something and not delivering may not always be funny, and may have consequences.

As our fourth semester proceeded towards the end, everybody started worrying about their training and internships for summer. Mia got a reply to her email, and was chosen as an intern in a premier institute of the country.
Towards the end, Brian got into a project too, under a professor in his department. Mincy was yet to decide if she’d do a training at a thermal power plant at Farakka, or at a power grid in Durgapur.

Thanks to our sluggy department and its stupid HOD, I couldn’t get a vocational training application signed in time. So I signed up for a month-long software course instead, in a different state.
And that’s where I finally met Mincy !!!

Design vs Actual

Autonomous Robotics

I know this title makes it look technical, but I won’t bore you much.
A few days before my vacations ended, one of my schoolmates, Edison, called me up.
He’d been looking up a robotics competition to be held in a nearby college’s technical fest. He asked me if I could develop logic for the problem statement.
The problem was something like this :

Make a line-follower robot to pick up wood blocks,
and drop them at holes along the way.

As I’ve already written, I went on a South India trip during winter vacation, and came back in January of 2014.
By then, the organizers had put up a possible logic, and Edison already made the program code out of it.
We soon met up, to try build the actual robot !!
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The Cold Hard Days

Everybody’s entitled to little rantings about something. Here’s mine. Unlike most of my posts, this was written in real time, sometime in January 2014. If you don’t understand all of it, please don’t try too hard (especially to my real-life friends).

Its a time when I’d catch up with Brian more through his blog than through our conversations. Even though we live in the same hostel room. Such are our digitalized lives with the introduction of high speed internet in each room. Ever since second years started, our respective departments had taken their own turns, separating from the mainstream first year course. A class full of new people dictates a handful of new friends.
I found my friend in some fellas in my class, previously little-known. Continue reading