Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It's been nine years...

...since I first set foot in BITS. I don't know why I had this incredible urge to visit the campus this time when I was in India. In any case, I had a standing invitation from Kiran, who lives in Delhi, for a weekend trip to Pilani whenever I was in town. So, we planned it out and my brother and I flew into Delhi on Friday night, the 4th of March.

The next morning, after loitering around Delhi for a short while, we set out for Pilani in Kiran's Zen. The Delhi - Gurgaon - Jaipur expressway was impressive and we zipped along at a fair clip even after we exited onto a state highway. It was about 10 kms away from Chirawa, when we crossed into Rajasthan, that the road suddenly disappeared from under us and a flood of bumpy memories were jolted out from the forgotten reaches of our brains. To cut a long and excrutiatingly slow journey short, it was evening by the time we reached the campus and checked into the VFAST Guest House.

Finally, we set out to rediscover our old habitat and reminisce the best four years of our lives...

(You should start reading the blog from the bottom as that's the order in which I have posted the pics and my notes.)

Nice landscape along the way.

The sun sets on our visit.

Panchavati. Never been in there actually.

Our way back on a very familiar road.

Place of random interest in Pilani.

Camel Stand, Nutan Market

Taxi Stand, Nutan Market

Hell yeah! Not really surprised by that. Oh, I forgot to mention that people can now store their computers in the old library area when they leave for the summer break. No need to lug them around in buses and trains anymore. Man! Was I studying in the Stone ages or what!?

A master stroke! Kiran takes a picture of him taking a picture while taking a picture.

And then, we couldn't resist a quick drive around Nutan. I have no idea what those guys are upto in front of the bus station.

As we finally left on Sunday evening, we stopped to take one last picture at the entrance of the campus.

No prizes for guessing the name of the road to the right - yeah, it's Ram Marg. Like I said, they sure didn't sweat it out trying to come up with names for the roads.

Birla's Dakota. It was a busy day at the museum as a lot of lokies had come over for a picnic or something. There was a whole bunch of them around the sun dial trying to read the time. :-)

L**dless man!

Chooo Chwweeet!

We ended up at Sky finally. Pappu was there as usual. Although, you can't seem him very clearly in this pic. I was told that Sky has WiFi access, but I didn't see any wireless routers hanging from the trees :-)

That's the SBBJ ATM next to S-9. UCO has one too.

S-39 was locked up, so we hung around in the room next to it. Timeless classrooms.

For those who know Punna Rao, he is now a member of the Pharmacy Faculty. He will make a fine warden some day! :-))

Yeah, he's still there! The best warden of them all. The half tickets surely have a special place in their hearts for him. :-)

RAF had "Black" scheduled for the week. Lib cards and library stubs are no longer available and cannot be used to get into a movie anyway.

Looking at the Audi.

We picked SV mess for lunch. Luckily, it was a Sunday. So we had lots of good stuff to eat. Notice that the marble tables have been replaced by wooden ones and the benches are gone. The plastic chairs just didn't cut it for me. Also, the meals are a much more hands on affair now. We have to pick our own plate, curries, papad etc and sit down to eat. Once we are done, we take our plate and put in a central location to be collected. I guess it keeps people from turning into lazy asses.

View of the temple from the M-block

View in the opposite direction.

Main entrance of the LTC.

The lush QT in the lecture theatre complex.

Damn pigeons!

The rooms were locked so we had to peek in through the glass doors. They are not very big, but are air cooled, which definitely helps when they are jam packed for a particularly popular prof. Apparently, timetable books are still the objects of choice for reserving places in classrooms.

This is the new "Lecture Theatre Complex" behind the library. It houses 5 or 6 amphitheatre like classrooms.

View from below

Runeeth and I

The atrium obviously has a very Rajasthani vibe to it.

EEE & CS periodicals. These are not the kind of magazines we used to read :-)

Art & D must have spent many sleepless nights over this one. :-)

The new Ref Li I guess. It was a Sunday morning and there were a few people slogging away totally oblivious of the 3 goofballs lurking around.

The index card system is now a curious antiquity sitting in an obscure corner of the library. Everyone uses the online "catalouge" (sic) now I guess. The interface wasn't too bad either. Almost makes me want to check out stuff to read :-)

The big picture.

I am not sure about this but I think the building is centrally air cooled. Lots of natural light too.

Seriously, throw in an ostentatious water fountain in the middle and we'd have the lobby of a 5 star hotel.

A very informative display which cited some impressive stats about the building and its contents.

FYI, S Venkateswaran is no longer our diro. LKM is.

One of the many fresco like paintings on the ceilings inside the library.

As you can see, the new buildings have a different color scheme, a mix of sandstone red and light pink. It certainly looks much better than the jaundiced walls of all the other buildings.

Kiran and I then did something that we'd seldom done on campus - we went into the library!

This my friends, is the new star on campus. The brand new library, which is absolutely breathtaking. Yes yes, it's got cycle stands too :-)

Would you look at that!? Cycle stands all around the insti! (this is in front of the C block or FD I if you prefer). No more cascading domino effects.

And there's the workshop. BTW, all the redis and their owners are still in their respective places - Nagar, Munna, Ratan and Pramod.

Another view of the clock tower.

I guess girls are now more skillful at riding their bicycles going by the obstacles put up on some of the roads.