Once I got admission in DCE, I was looking forward to learning new subjects, and enjoying the freedom, which was part and parcel of college life.
DCE campus was far away from my residence, and it involved travel time of one and half hours each way.
I met with a big disappointment because just after a few months, our student’s union declared a strike to protest the college administration.
The effigies of the Principal, Head of departments of Civil and Electrical were burnt inside and outside our campus. We marched even to vice chancellor’s office in Delhi university and organized rally outside the parliament house. It was a prolonged strike, which went on for over two months.
The outcome of the strike in a way was positive, because our college buildings got repainted and our classrooms got new furniture, the quality of the services in the college canteen improved, the assembly hall and the workshops got refurbished.
The break in studies and the time loss had a few disadvantages too. After reopening the pace of education went up, and it became difficult for me to learn the subjects. I also couldn’t afford the textbooks to learn on my own, what was being taught in the classes.
After day long lectures and long hours of commuting, I had little energy left to learn the fundamentals.
In two years, the college union decided that our existing principal was incompetent, and an autocrat.
We went for a second strike, which luckily answered many complaints. As a result, the annual examination system was substituted by six monthly semester system. That reduced the load on the students, because the number of subjects to be covered at a time, in the semester system got halved.
Several subjects were reduced to orientation courses, which called for only attendance and weren’t examined.
The first full semester of our fourth year was allotted for industrial training, which brought a big change. Because it wasn’t very taxing, I utilized my evenings during that time, to learn German language.
I also had the privilege to hear a few talented persons like Shakuntala Devi, a mathematical prodigy, who visited our college, the Editor of Illustrated weekly, Khushwant Singh, about contemporary Indian writers, at Max Mueller Bhawan.
Our Mechanical Engineering head of department, Mr. Bimbhra was a good speaker, who often addressed us about morals and ethics in the assembly hall. In addition, Prof R Narain, Head of Civil Engineering, was also a student of Max Mueller Bhawan and once he spoke on a humorous subject, ‘Marriage is an outdated institution.’
There were campus interviews in the final year and a few final year students were selected by the Indian Navy.
We also had to complete a project in the final year, which turned out to be an interesting phase for me. Our team of three students, used Peltier’s affect to cool a chamber. The project was also picked up by media like Times of India, Economic Times, The Indian Express and The Hindu.
Overall, the college time turned out to be fruitful, I got a first division and I also got employment as a Research and Development engineer in a Pune based boiler company, within a month after passing.