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Class acts – XI and XII in Little Rock June 4, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in littlerockers, reminisces-1990s.
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This post is inspired by the previous post. Infact it was in a single post until I decided to break it into two. So maybe you should read this short post before you go ahead.

So here goes :

Our computer science class in XI and XII (1997-99) were probably the best times we had in Little Rock. We were all of just 11 students in the class and had a whole class with a capacity for about 30 all to ourselves. But somehow we seemed to have naturally split up into about 5 groups that lived a rather communal existence. This post is about that existence.

Group 1 : Joyas and Supreeth

They usually sat together. Their topic of discussion was probably computer science, but not quite what the teacher talked about. They were ahead of their time – Joyas perhaps would be discussing something rather advanced like pointer to a pointer to a pointer or something even more low level stuff. ( and top-scored computer science in Class XII boards with 99 ). Supreeth is a bag of tricks – he had ( and still has ) the eye for the obscure – something he found somewhere about a trick to get around a common problem – I presume, theirs was a symbiotic existence.

Group 2 : Nitin and Arjun.

This group sat in a corner and had their own syllabus to cover. Nitin stayed in the hostel and didnt have access to Cable TV and Arjun stayed in Manipal and did. So you know what I mean. Every day Arjun seemed to tell him stories from some movies ( possibly rated ) and sitcoms from Star Plus – which was predominantly English then. Their conversations were occasionally puntuated with laughter (Arjun’s laughter is hard to forget.) – so I presume they may have discussed some comedies too. What Nitin had to share with Arjun is quite a mystery to me – possibly some quirks in the English language and some lessons in poetry/prose interpretation – which if true was probably a mystery to Arjun as well. No wonder, Arjun was talking most of time. πŸ˜‰

 

Group 3: Joyson, Rohan and Sreejith

This group sat in the first row and had their head towards the teacher. So we presume they occasionally listened in the class. But Rohan and Joyson were project mates and they did a good job with Tic-tac-toe and other stuff. I remember them having a notebook open and scribbling something into it occasionally. The teacher at times seems annoyed by them and Srijeeth, the kid he was, would say something (remotely) funny or ask an elementary question. When it would not further infuriate the teacher, this was effective cooling her down.

Group 4 : Rajaram,Ashith and myself

We (thought we) were future technocrats, diplomats, sports columnists or perhaps even statesmen ! That time in history ( yeah, I am making it sound important ! ) coincided with some significant (non-computer science related ) developments and some of these developments formed our syllabus, our topics of conversation and study –

– India had 2 general elections in that period that threw out Vajpayee and brought him in again
– India and Pakistan becoming nuclear powers – May 1998
– France 1998 – World Cup football
– India played Pakistan in the Sahara Cup in Toronto and Rajaram was the only one who had cable TV access in our group
– Clinton had a particularly good time in office that culminated with his impeachment in Dec 1998.
– The Balkans were heating up and eventually NATO had to bomb Serbia to ground

Everyday for atleast an hour, Ashith, Rajaram and me would discuss these things as if our deliberations would make any difference on the ground.

To beat it all, we regularly had our own football and/or cricket matches in the afternoons – teams for which would be formed in the computer science class. We once even made our Sona Fernandes pick the chits with names written on it to form 2 cricket teams for that afternoon and then decide the toss about who would bat first by dropping a pen and deciding which side of a line ( drawn on the desk with her chalk ) it would fall ! On knowing that our team ( Ashith and me ) were in the same team and that we would field first, we then took another paper and plotted the fielding positions. So you see, atleast some of these discussions did make a difference on the ground !

Group 5 : Sowmya Kamath

It would be wrong to call this a β€˜group’ – this β€˜group’ consisted of 1 student – Sowmya Kamath. She invariably sat on the first bench and was the only one who ever listened to the teacher on a regular basis. I would like to think it was more out of courtesy than a need to learn the content. The irony is that although she was the only one in the class whose behavior was more akin to that of a student, she was clearly the one ( and probably the only one ) who felt out of place ( for doing the right thing ! ).

Lets look at where all these people as today, about 7 years since Little Rock.

5 of these became computer engineers/scientists

– Joyas in Force10 networks, Madras.

– Supreeth with TCS, Bangalore, Jersey city, now in Chicago

– Sreejith now with Infosys in New Jersey.

– Sowmya married, now in Mysore, had been working until recently. Now back in the job market again.

– myself, now in grad school here at Carnegie Mellon

 

4 of these Mechanical Engineers ( by training atleast.)

– Ashith, now in grad school doing Engineering Management, SUNY at Buffalo

– Rajaram, post L&T, joining NMIMS Bombay for his MBA shortly

– Arjun with Lehman Brothers, Bombay ( switched to software )

– Rohan Barnes, now MBA from SDM Mysore

 

1 of them a biomedical engineer

– Joyson – B.E and M.Tech in Biomed – working in Bangalore

and Nitin Kamath completely changed line and after his BBM is joining the Hospitality industry after his 1 year program in Bangalore

Sona teacher who taught us Computer Science in Class XII was amazingly tolerant and friendly, more like one of us. ( I hope this article wont cost her the job !! ).

On Feb 16, 2003, about 4 years after we left Little Rock, Sona teacher was at KREC. I took her around our campus, we had Masala Dosa for lunch at the SNP canteen and then walked to the KREC beach. It was a hot afternoon – sat down under the tent on the beach for about 5 hours in the hot afternoon and talked about life, my plans for future, her current students and Little Rock is general. Among the many other things she said something like this – β€œYour batch is special – it was my first ever batch in Little Rock and first ever set of students I ever taught. I really liked your class but I have to admit one thing – I think I had only one student in that class – Sowmya Kamath. If she was not there to listen to me, maybe I would have given up teaching!”

If you had been a teacher to us, you probably wouldnt have been a friend !

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - June 5, 2006

Man, this one was awesome.. just loved reading it.. read 3 times at a stretch… so Nostalgic man..
Good job as always

~Ashith

2. Sowmya - June 5, 2006

I agree with ashith. But man..i really did not know a lot of stuffs..which i got to know thru this…and what sona teacher said will be something i will never forget. Actually speaking quite a few times i used to get so bored in her class..and all the doodles in my notes proves this.

3. Rajaram Kamath - June 5, 2006

Amazing stuff Sharath… The first time I am posting a comment on a blog.. Those were indeed some of the best days.. Miss those intellectually inspiring discussions we used to have.. You bring out these memories wonderfully well… Keep at it man..

4. Joyas - June 6, 2006

Just fantastic.

Man! You make all those teeny meeny things we did during *those* days worth as much or more than what a scientist would of his research.

Feeling like going back to the classes again – nostalgia building up.

5. Sona Teacher - June 15, 2006

Cool!!! Do not worry !!! Who worries about job stuff ( May be when u jobless LESS worries) That was amazing. Building up a dream, 25 years of it’s celebration LRIS should have a class room like this where again SONA T(Ch)eacher will reproduce her enegy level (why not if it gives such a high class students community) But ( this time more and more fun – with computer science) to generatre vibration of it’s own time!! Have another BOMBING period of my life. C Ya…. Will continue commenting


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