Y be civic when you got swag?

The following is an updated version of an article that was originally published in October 2012, as a part of Insight’s Flagship Print Edition 15.1. You can read the original version on Page 10 here: http://issuu.com/insight-vol13/docs/15.1/10

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Chief Editors: Anshul Avasthi, Chirag Chadha
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y be punctual

In IIT Bombay it really seems difficult to care about anything. It’s hard enough to bother about one’s own priorities and really laughable to expect us to bother about others’. The apathy that creeps into students at the institute over time is now an epidemic; ingrained in our psyche. A psyche that allows us to be late, unclean and ill-mannered without so much as a “ditch bey”. On a very pertinent note, we cannot stress enough that this article is not written to offend or blame. But, we’re going to try to overstress anyway, so here: this article is not written out of spite, arrogance or elitism. We simply wanted to call attention to the malaise that has crept into the student community, and how it affects us all.

This article is not written to offend or blame; it is not written out of spite, arrogance or elitism. We simply wanted to call attention to the malaise that has crept into the student community, and how it affects us all.

So trying hard again: We don’t think every IITian is guilty of displaying these traits. But some of us are guilty of some of them, and in many ways the writers are often guilty of the same too.

Deadlines? Don’t they always get extended?

In a place where everyone has time but few have money to spare, punctuality doesn’t make it very far. We simply don’t care about being on time, do we? When it’s an institute matter, we’re reasonably reliable, and lectures and tests all begin on time (mostly?), ensuring we’re around in time for the important stuff. Unfortunately, so many things fail to make the “important” grade, like club-events and competitions. Heck, even placement PPTs don’t start on time – and in this case the college’s reputation is at stake. We get that organizers push events back to maximize participation and we don’t blame them for it. The sad part is that punctuality is punished when people turn up according to their own version of what “late” is (we’re very flexible with words that way). It’s certainly not true that the freshies are rid of their punctuality as soon as they decide it’s not worth being on time for their MA105 classes. MA was painful for many many reasons, (editor’s note: the writers must be permitted to let their grades influence opinionated articles) but we probably shouldn’t blame it for converting so many otherwise punctual people, into disillusioned latecomers. To all those reading this and passing off the writers as meek milquetoast milksops with mole-hill to mountain making minds, we’d like to point out that this very tardiness seeps into all aspects of life. The placement deadline gets postponed year after year because some of us don’t bother to start early. Whoa! These are the placements people! General knowledge: deadlines are going to be extended and have been for the past few years, so let’s all collectively not bother to try, shall we?

Here’s a suggestion – search through your GPO mails for the word “extended” and it is all painfully obvious. The idea of deadlines is such a joke now that we’ve come to think these extensions are our right. The student community as a whole really needs to wake up and realize deadlines are not meaningless, or at least aren’t supposed to be.

Editor’s note: Understandably, many of us will be too lazy to search out inboxes - so here’s a screenshot.

Editor’s note: Understandably, many of us will be too lazy to search out inboxes – so here’s a screenshot.

The problem with ‘Ditch yaar!’

Eateries on campus like Brewberrys and Campus Hub have signs on the tables asking customers to dispose of the plates and cups. Most of us seem to have gotten our heads around only the get-food part of self-service, not the get-rid-of-waste. The most trashy part is many students don’t throw their trash in trash cans (the fancy new livestock-proof ones which dot the institute). Is it really that hard?

Can’t wait to move onto another pressing issue – patience, a virtue that is lost among us. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to leave a classroom or elevator without having to declare war on people trying to get in at the same time? Lights are left turned on in rooms for days on end when the students have left for home; not just students, but professors and staff as well! Halogen lights in hostel grounds are nearly never turned off. Taps are left running well after their need has expired.

We live in an institute where the administration installs jammers in auditoriums because it doesn’t entrust us with the decency to turn off our cell phones and respect the speaker. Perhaps it’s because we’re simply unaware of the consequences of what we’re doing, certainly most of these problems relate to most Indians and the Indian ethos as a whole rather than IIT Bombay specifically.

But shouldn’t we, with all our celebrated ‘cream-of-the-country’ness, compel the correction?

But shouldn’t we, with all our celebrated ‘cream-of-the-country’ness, compel the correction?

But, what’s the point of all of this?
It’s interesting to note that there’s something very important to individuals at stake here: the future. It’s not true that we’ll all mass-recalibrate immediately after college. The little die-hard aspect of bad habits must be heeded, because these habits might have already marred how people perceive us, the college and the country as a whole before we grasp that the outside world isn’t half as forgiving. The same belief that lets us proudly note in our foreign-intern-hungry (spam) mails that we are pursuing such-and-such degree in The premier institute of India, conversely bestows us with the responsibility of representing our country internationally.

Rights and duties, ladies and gentlemen.

Rights and duties, ladies and gentlemen.

We, the writers, don’t have all the answers. We might even be failing miserably at expressing the ‘not-stress-enough that this is not an elitist rant’ sentiment. This article wasn’t intended to be about preaching and pointing, but rather acknowledging and addressing. Ideally it should be imbibed and internalized, not inanely imposed. Don’t you think life can be much easier in IIT if someone isn’t trying to buy a samosa over your head (extra chutney dena bhaiya)?