Today I will do what others won’t so that tomorrow I can do what others can’t. Abhimanyu (the guy in the middle) is pursuing Civil engineering and shares his memorable experience of internship days.
Although we were excited when the thought of interning at Tehri Dam struck our mind, but we had doubts about whether we will get accepted or not, or how will we manage at a place like Tehri, which is about 50 kms. uphill from Rishikesh. But as destiny is the mother of all outcomes, we got selected, and we started for our venture from Delhi to Tehri on 31st May, 2015.
We reached Tehri on 1st June at around 9 or 10 AM, and it was a very tiring journey, about 300 kms non-stop, and all three of us were sleepy, and exhausted. We looked for the forest department’s guest house that was arranged for us by Jamal’s father, who works for the department, and we came to know it was 12 kms uphill from where the bus dropped us! We slowly crawled up the road, and it took us almost 2 hours to reach our destination. We were relieved to see the lavish guest house, but our happiness vanished when the caretaker served us the news of tigers lurking around in the vicinity with our cup of tea. And in no time we were back on our feet, with our luggage and heading towards the main market again.
Fortunately we found a hotel just 1 km away from the THDC office. So we checked in the hotel and just surrendered ourselves to sleep.
The next day, we went to the office to report our arrival, and we were surprised by the warm behaviour of the officials. I am a student of a central university in Delhi, but the clerical staff and teachers here are as rude and incompetent as they can be, but the officials there were the exact opposite! The senior manager of the PSP department made our attendance register because the clerk who usually does this was busy doing something else! And there was no sense of superiority among them, no clash of ego. Everyone helped each other and no one was sulking around the office complaining about his or her work. I’ve never seen such a healthy work environment in a government office. Everyone of us have visited a govt. office once in our life, either a post office, a police station, a bank or a govt. college and you know how things work at these places; no one wants to take responsibility and no one seems to be the in charge, there’s always a “higher authority” who shall deal with you.
But that is not the case at THDC, everyone was so cooperative and kind, we exploited their behaviour and whenever we had free time, after our work hours we would befriend a random employee and urged him to tell us more about the dam. Now that was all about the staff there. But the work itself was nonetheless interestingly demanding.
We went to the dam site daily which was about 6-7 kms downhill of the office. Regularly, engineers were assigned to us, who were experts of their fields. They explained us everything they could, and patiently answered all our queries.
Now, basically, the construction work at Tehri involves all types of engineering knowledge known to man but the most prominent of them is civil engineering. As Tehri dam project is all about underground construction, so even the power house is built inside a mountain. The excavation work there is of utmost importance and being a student of civil engineering myself, I had the curiosity to see something that I had only read in books. I am glad my wish came true when I saw the workers blasting a tunnel. It was the most aesthetically pleasing thing to me up till now in my life.
The reverberation of the blast is a thing I will not easily forget. The dust particles suspended in mid air, vibrating to and fro because of the continual blasts was a sight that I engraved in my mind. We also came to know how tunnels are made and then how they are reinforced to withstand the enormous forces of nature which are continuously trying to bring them down. We learned how electricity is made using hydropower and believe me when I say, it’s not that simple at Tehri as Shahrukh Khan tried to depict it in Swades. Tehri dam has a mean annual runoff of 8000 million cubic metre and it is the highest dam in Asia – the 4th largest on earth and rock filled dam in the world! And the legacy behind the building of the dam is also as interesting as its working. The dam was proposed in 1949 and the construction began in 1978 and is still going on and is not expected to be completed before 2020. 42 years of continuous construction! And the city of Old Tehri, submerged, now serving as the primary reservoir of the dam, has a story of its own – the struggles to prevent the building of the dam.
Despite the fact that we were constantly afraid of getting killed or pounced on by a leopard or a fierce monkey or a rabbit sized lizard (I don’t know what they call them there), we had our share of enjoyment and fun, and it was a trip that we all would want to cherish.
If Abhimanyu’s experience motivates you, you can check the latest Civil internships.
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