Lifetime experience in Madras

Name: – Bishakh Rout

College: – Ravenshaw University

Interned at: – IIT Madras

How did I spend my 1st intern stipend?

Last summer, I had the opportunity to work with Prof. A.K. Mishra of IIT Madras’ Chemistry Department. It was the INSA Summer Fellowship that I had been awarded.

I reached Chennai on the 15th of May, 2012. Despite the sweltering heat, I made some really cool friends out there. They were the Scholars who were working under Prof. Mishra’s guidance.

I was little sluggish for the first few days. I took some time to get acquainted with the ways of the laboratory. But then, I really enjoyed working with Prof. Mishra’s students. Needless to say, those 2 months will be etched in my memories forever, and Chennai will always be a city that I will look forward to visit again.

Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter, i.e. the stipend. I was to receive a total of 14000/- INR, in two monthly instalments. The prerequisite was to send a report on the work that I did in Prof. Mishra’s lab. I had sent a report at the end of one month, and I received the first instalment of 7000 INR while in Chennai. Around fifteen days were left, so I decided to take a day out and have a look around the city.

It turned out to be an impromptu decision. One fine Saturday, Jitendriya Bhaiya ( one of the scholars and a very friendly and helpful guy ) and I decided to let our hair down after having a tiring day in the Laboratory. We headed for the Chennai City Centre Mall, boarding a local train from the station near the IIT campus.

I hadn’t really decided on how to spend the 7000 rupees that I had got as the first installment. We strolled around casually. INOX was airing ” Ice Age : Continental Drift ” at that time. We hadn’t booked the tickets online, so we decided against watching it. After getting hunger pangs, we sat down to gorge on the absolutely delicious Chicken Tandoor from one of the stores that lined one end of the 3rd or maybe 4th floor. While eating, my mind was also running through the issue of spending the 7k rupees.

In a moment of maturity, somehow I decided against spending all the money for myself. I reached upon a conclusion to use that “1st stipend” to bring a smile on my family members’ faces, those who strived a lot to keep me happy.

Having finished eating, we had a goof-up moment. Searching for the washroom, we got to see two posters hanging on a wall that had two doors. One was of Marilyn Monroe, the other was of Elvis Presley. Without thinking, we pushed in the door that was nearer to Marilyn’s poster. Low and behold, we realized the blunder that we had committed, we turned back at once. To this day, I feel the mall authorities would have been better off in hanging name plates mentioning “Ladies” and “Gents” rather than hanging photos of icons.

We put this incident behind and turned towards Landmark, the book store. It turned out to be a harrowing time, having to search all the shelves for Christopher Paolini’s “Brisingr” and “Inheritance” titles with the employees having absolutely no clue about the whereabouts of the two epic-fantasy titles. I got those two books because my sister had gone through the first two volumes, “Eragon” and “Eldest”, and she had enjoyed every bit of it. It set me back by a thousand bucks.

Next, we moved to find something for my mom. I was having no idea about choosing sarees and clutches and heels…so the perfect bargain for her vanity was a watch. We walked in to the Titan showroom, and walked out with a Titan Raga worth about 3000 INR.

The work was still half done, I had three thousand bucks left and I had to find something for my Dad. It was a difficult task, as I had so many things in mind – wallets, accessories, sunglasses, after fighting it out in the mind, I settled down for a time-tested trick, a formal shirt. I wanted one from Peter England, but unfortunately there was no such store. So we tried out the Wills’ Lifestyle Store. After much bickering between me and Jitendriya Bhaiya over the color, we settled for a blue pinstriped one. It cleared out whatever was left of the “First Stipend”.

All these items may have been trifle, but when I came back home on the July 14th and flung open my trolley bag, I saw smiles on my Mom’s, Dad’s as well as my sister’s face and I knew I had done the right thing. In my mind, I told myself, ” The initiation to Manhood and Maturity from Boyhood and Selfishness has been accomplished”.

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