The first class I ever attended in Mechanical Engineering was Engineering Drawing 105.
Loyal to our signature style of punctuality, Dhruv & I arrived late for the lesson and entered an enormous tiered classroom, M 1-1-1, resembling a Roman ampitheatre, the only things missing being the tickets to watch the gladiator battle that could have been held in the central arena.
A deafening silence hung over the collosum, the 99 pairs of eyes staring at us augmenting the discomfort of the moment. While those already in the class remained unnaturally frozen in their places, here is the description of the the Caesar whose image (much to my dislike) has stayed etched on my memory since: an Indian version of the gorgon of a teacher in Pink Floyd’s video of “Another brick in the wall”, on the dais stood a man in his early forties, aptly attired, hair well combed and oiled – but as formidable as a pissed off judge to a petty thief.
Thankfully, he was looking down at some papers in his hand. With stealth, we managed to squeeze our way into the empty seats desperate not to draw the professor’s unwanted attention, when a baritone voice comparable to Nana Patekar’s broke the silence with a boom,
“Late comers are being noted. Marks will be deducted later depending upon your performance in class.”
I nudged Dhruv on his side and whispered, ‘Who is this Aurangzeb II??’
“Professor Siddhartha Basu”, answered the professor.
Unfortunately, my “whisper” exceeded its desired decibel level. Startled, I raised my gaze. He was staring right at me.
“I have trained scores of professionals to amaze with their design skills in the best boardrooms, and the responsibility to make you worth anything in the world of engineering drawing is up to me. In this objective, I will tolerate no disruption or disobedience” he glared. “And, till that happens – YOUR ASS BELONGS TO ME.”
Dhruv looked at me and whispered, “This guy must be a big fan of Warden from Shawshank Redemption. What was that guy’s name?”
“Yeah, he”, he replied
Further words of wisdom of the Prophet from Purgatory:
“An engineer creates his work, gives concrete shape to his ideas and design through technical drawing or engineering drawing. Engineering drawing does not change its complexion like spoken language with the crossing of the boundary of a country. In order to present the exact shape and size of the object the lines are drawn perpendicular to the plane of the paper from various angles of the object. These are called orthographic projections.”
We exchanged blank looks, typical to hopeless morons.
“In the figure 10.1 all three sides that is the front, side and top can be seen together. The projections are parallel to one another and also perpendicular to the picture plane, thus showing an example of an orthographic projection on paper.
In the above figure we see the three top, front and side are depicted separately and thus when we combine then we get the original object. While drawing such projections the observer is assumed to be at infinite distance so that the rays are parallel and the projecting lines for any particular plane are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the plane of the projection.”
“Why is this thick-head saying the same thing so many times?” said Dhruv softly, running out of patience with the man’s ceaseless rant. “Bloody senile.”
Shockingly, prof. S.B. once again proved his amazing capability to pick up sounds from far off when he a chilling “What did you say?” to Dhruv.
As blood rose to the professor’s face, it drained from my friend’s. He meekly replied, “Nothing. Sorry..”
S.B.’s stare communicated the consequences of another audible noise from Dhruv.
“Draw the orthographic projections of the given figure 10.1 we discussed, and submit it by 5 in the evening.”
With that he strutted out, leaving us with a couple of scientific instrument called a drafter and a T-scale.
He strutted back in at the scheduled time by when everyone had managed to figure out how to use the provided tools and fashioned miserable versions of the concerned diagram on paper. Taking a look at the sheets, he started marking everyone on his laptop screen which was in turn, to the humiliation of many, was projected on a gigantic white screen.
The ranking was done in the descending order.
Dhruv fantastically scored no points, earning him a place on the top of the list.
As his name popped up, he stood, and, with the courage of David taking on Goliath, left the class.
Nobody had ever walked out of a professor’s class in the institute before. We were awed by his audacity and starting with me, one by one, we took his lead and abandoned the room, leaving the professor staring at us in disbelief. A Walk Out to fight the public humiliation of students and the pathetic method of instruction employed by the professor. At that moment, a candle in our hand would have been quite fitting.
Having executed this act of extreme valour, we were more or less out of an idea of what to do next. Thus, like a helpless herd of sheep looking for their shepherd, we did what came naturally to us – we looked for Dhruv.
We were lauding his guts, when someone spotted him emerge out of the far end of the hallway, walking hurriedly towards us.
That was strange.
Anxiety, as we all know, is no trait of a hero.
The crowd erupted into a spontaneous applause on his arrival. However, we were more than confused by his response – “Why the hell are all of you out of the class? Saale ne sabko nikal dia kya? haha..”
“Abey Dhruv you have some balls, man. You are our hero!”said a guy.
“What are you talking about?” he asked, perplexed.
“It was a bold step yaar.”, said another, contorting his face in admiration.
“What step, bey??”
“That son of a bitch deserved a walk-out! We followed you out the door.”
“A Walk-Out??” Dhruv sqeeked “I left because I had to urinate!!”
The only bits of information which can be revealed without flushing our honour down the toilet are:
1. We ended up with the worst grades ever in the history of the university.
2. The class was given a uniform D grade which meant 6 out of 10 credits
3. Dhruv and I were the lone pair of electron to get an E grade which meant 5 out of 10 credits and meant we just managed to keep our head above water and sneak away
Engineering Drawing 105.