I’ve lived with some, I’ve worked with many and I’ve dated only them. The story of several nations begins with them, and often enough, develops into legends. They’ve made our hospitals, our schools, our homes and offices. They’ve made the infrastructure that runs them, and the technology that makes them better than previously.
Man or woman, I do believe they’re the only ones in this country who take on the pressure of proving themselves beyond their qualification. They’re the only ones who want to tamper with a DSLR, or spend a train journey reading by the window, rather than choosing the upper berth to catch up on much lost sleep. They’re the only ones I know who appreciate art, business as well as the nuances of science.
They’re practical. They know when to be around and when to step back. They’re the only ones I know whose embraces stay. They spend four years in college, toiling on assignments and poring through journals just so that degree will give them the freedom to explore the world. I used to think, what a waste of a whole seat. But an engineer who does not think that way, is really just so limited. It is not about being the jack of any trades and master at none – no, it isn’t about mediocrity at all – though, I do often label them all with that blanket for the sake of convenient argument. But a workforce that emerges from its hefty contribution to the business of education, can’t be neglected. They’re the crème de la crème among the call centre-ites. They’re the ones preferred over even commerce students at business schools. They’re the ones our Tier II city dwellers still pay handsome dowries for – second only to the docs. So hey, if you can have a Doctor’s Day, why not this?
The country celebrates the 44th National Engineers’ Day on the 15th of September 2011. So what are we celebrating? Nation building? Sounds L&Tish. Logic? Sounds CATish. One of the most lasting careers? That’s almost wannabe-in-the-USish. Perhaps it is all these and then some more. Actually, much more. It is that spirit of being boisterous. Of stressing over trivialities. Of competing for the IITs, NITs and then the IIMs and IITs again. It is the celebration of the world looking to India to not only direct (which just sounds so damn pompous), but also design the future. To physically shout out instructions to labour and contractors. To prevail when others are dilly-dallying in contemplation.
Then I’ve also known of those who drop out. Those who commit suicide because of all the pressure. Those who abandon the cause because it’s just not their calling.
Hopefully, we shall respect them a little more. Hopefully, we’ll honour their place in society a tad more. Hopefully, we shall not in our generation, aspire for our sons and daughters to be part of a mob. A significant mob, nonetheless. Hopefully, we will know that being an engineer is about being a certain way. That, despite half the country’s science students blindly heading for a tech school, it is not the end of the path to progress, but only one of the trajectories that lead to a beginning.