3 days in Pilani

Last month I had been to Pilani  with 3 friends to appear for my final viva as part of the MS degree. The best part was that all 4 of us had never met each other before and yet got along as if we had known each others for ages. The credit of this success story goes to the BITS DLPD Yahoo Group which is used by students to share information, question papers, solutions, and get answers to doubts. It is also used by some like Vikas as the stage for some email humour – and sometimes he does get close to this.

We had decided to keep ourselves away from the pains associated with state transport & thus rented a car from Delhi. We were entertained on the way to Pilani by our driver Sunilji, who was quite jovial, talkative and knowledgeable. The roads were OK other than few horrible patches, but the driving was horrible. Drivers there derive great satisfaction by adamantly driving in the wrong lane. Initially we used to hold our breath each time someone would drive-in, but later got used to it. The driver questioned our reaction, ‘aap ke yahan dusre lane me nahi chalate?‘ To which Asha said, ‘chalate hai, par aise chhaati par nahi aate‘. All through the journey we saw unlimited supply of gol gappe; Sunilji had promised us the best in Pilani, but only to our disappointment. The check-in at the VFAST hostel was perfect: faster than web check-in 😉

Before we checked-in, we also got ourselves a drive in the campus just to get some idea. We were stunned at the size & inclusiveness of the campus: you can compare it to some defense campus that has everything in it. You can guess from the fact that there are 11 large boy’s hostels and a large super-market. There is an ‘all night cafe’ that serves food & beverages all through the night. Then there is Connaught, the commercial centre that houses everything from restaurants to book-shops to tailors. The playground alone would be 4 football grounds, comprising of long tennis & basketball courts.

As we took rounds on campus, we initially found life to be slow & dull; we kept wondering how it would feel to move here from a metropolitan and adapt to this life. But within the next 2 days the charm & pride of the institute & peace on the campus had proven us wrong. We were convinced that life would be fun once you made friends. There’s enough to keep you busy at college: we could see assignments with deadlines on the notice board of each department.  These are simplified with a humongous library that houses an arsenal of books on almost everything, along with international journals & rare books from the last century. Then there are temples, play areas, restaurants & a great night life (at the all night cafe). We could see cute couples, holding hands, all over the place – and it seemed like almost everyone is a couple. It made me nostalgic about my days in college. I guess residential courses obviate the need to find someone:  someone to share with, someone to break the loneliness – phone might be inadequate means of communication. Anyways, lets move on.

Pilani is all about BITS. On the last day, we did take a look around outside the campus in search of some sweets. There’s nothing much out there, and I remained glued to the gol gappe that I found irresistibly tasty & overly cheap at a rupee a piece. Don’t miss the ones at the only thela in Connaught.

After we finished our viva, we registered with the alumni association & got ourselves some souvenirs. We couldn’t do justice to the museum as we only had 30 mins before they close (it closes at 5, and is shut on MON). I could see how much value the museum alone adds to the curriculum, especially for those in mechanical, chemical, process & metallurgy streams.

We drove back to Delhi the same night, and tackled immense traffic around Gurgaon. To avoid that, we drove an extra 40 kms on dusty roads, through fields to be in time for our flights. We still had to kill 3 hours at the airport before check-in. I spent time browsing books at Odessey and licking my fingers at KFC 😉 before a tiring 4 hour flight via Ahmadabad.