Friday, Aug 19, 2022
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Engineering the body

On That Barren Stretch

Engineeers fix things. They need to be cherished. Ideally by girls.

On That Barren Stretch
Illustration by Saahil
On That Barren Stretch
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Sex in engineering colleges is a mythical creature, like the unicorn, or black money. Despite the lack of evidence, you want to believe that it exists. While I was in Jadavpur University, I remember lying under trees and smiling to myself, thinking, it’s such a big campus, someone must be getting lucky somewhere. In fact, my four years in the Mechanical Engineering department at JU were all part of a master plan. Very early in life, I was told that I would have to be either an engineer or a doctor. No other options were provided. I was not entirely sure about this. For one thing, medicine seemed to involve large amounts of studying. We lived just across the road from a medical student. I used to watch him trudge home every night, exhausted. Then the light would go on in his room, and he would study. Conditions were clearly tough. Plus this was Calcutta, where all the doctors in government hospitals were being beaten up by the public on a regular basis. Reviewing the situation at the age of seventeen, I concluded that medicine was not the profession for me.

This left me with engineering. Here too, with the diligence that would later become typical of me, I collected evidence. One of my close friends was a year older, and had just joined IIT KGP. From what I gathered, IIT KGP had approximately ten thousand boys and six girls, who were extremely nervous. Statistically, the chances of sex seemed very close to zero. This means that every young man who enters IIT enters knowing that his case is hopeless. Who knows what kind of effect this has on the psychology of a person? In the case of my IIT friend, he grew progressively thinner, and his expression grew increasingly haunted. He was visibly wasting away. I did not want to be like him.

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