About the Author: Sudhakar Kumar from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra, Jammu & Kashmir, shares with us his second internship journey at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Do second chances really exist? Read on to find out.
Sometimes in life, we make memories that leave an everlasting impact on our minds and get hard-wired into our minds. On the one hand, recollecting those memories gives us a moment of joy while, on the other, it becomes painful, as we want to relive those memories again. Nonetheless, we don’t have a rewind button in our lives. And still, we keep on pestering the almighty to give us a chance of living that life again. Well, sometimes, God listens to our appeals by customizing certain clauses.
This summer internship allowed me to reminisce the memories of a beautiful journey spent at IITB in 2015. And so, it was like a dream come true for me. It was hard to believe that once again, after two years, I had to work on an FOSSEE (Free and Open Source Software for Education) project at IITB. At the mere sight of the lab, the memories of all the mischievous activities which we (our notorious group of 2015 internship) indulged in, came rushing back. I recalled how we were scolded by the then lab members, for our so called LOL moments.
This time, my partners-in-crime were three brilliant students, namely, Saloni (DA-IICT, Gandhinagar), Ram Mohan (IIT-BHU), and Jai Deep (NIT, Durgapur). We were assigned to work on an MHRD sponsored project entitled “Development of an affordable Open Sky Planetarium.” This project involved an integration of hardware & software like controlling stepper motors using some keys on a GUI running on a computer. As this project involved a sound understanding of celestial coordinates, we had to spend a significant amount of time in looking at the stars. Thanks to Stellarium (a planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars), we could see the stars even in the daytime. Initially, jargons like right ascension, declination, etc. were difficult to digest but the competitive environment of IITB kept our enthusiasm high and helped us learn things faster.
This project required mastering new tools like Qt, KiCad, Linux, etc. All the members contributed to the project; Saloni solved software bugs, Ram Mohan had a bucket full of solutions for current/voltage related issues, and Jai Deep designed a complete PCB using KiCad. Occasionally, I too was of some help, integrating Arduino board with the peripherals. When people worked at IITB, they got insinuated with a competitive streak, which motivated them to acquire more skills. This time again, I fell in love with my lab, which was inevitable given the ambiance there.
After two weeks, we were expected to showcase the results we had achieved. In the beginning, we were confident of a grand presentation; at the eleventh hour, we realized that everything was not (so) fine. Later, we all sat together, and worked as a team to resolve the issues, and made things presentable. During this pursuit, we learned the actual meaning of a TEAM.
Einstein once said, “An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute.” Time flew in the exciting company of the trio. I could only keep track of weeks, as days seemed short. And finally, the day came when we were supposed to present the project before a jury of eminent academicians. We prepared ourselves with multiple rehearsals, articulating our thoughts, googling possible questions, etc. During the presentation, we showcased an affordable system that was capable of locating celestial bodies, and a script that could locate a particular star. As we built and ran the script, it drew the attention of everyone, since LASER took a full rotation and hit everyone with its intense beam.
The last day became memorable as I could attend the valedictory speech of Prof. D.B. Phatak. His grandeur gave us DEW : D for Dream Big, E for Enjoy every moment of life, and W for Work Hard. The internship for this cohort concluded with certificate distribution, and I got one for mentoring the interns. It was then that I realized that my participation had been accounted as a mentor in Ekalavya Summer Internship 2017. It was like discovering a farmer’s daughter while looking for a needle in a haystack.
The transition from an intern to a mentor was enthralling and challenging. Aristotle once said, “Well begun is half done.” The innovative solutions provided by the interns have taken our project to the next level. The onus now lies on the team at IITB to implement those solutions and techniques to finish the project in time. Now, I am working as a full-time research assistant at IITB, but I do miss the internship days spent with those beautiful minds. However, I miss it with a smile, and now, I know – “Yes, sometimes life does give us a second chance. Period”
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!