Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Roorkee, Chilled

IMD reports that north India is in the midst of a severe coldwave, with Delhi recording its coldest day in 44 years and temperatures dropping to near-freezing not just in the Himalayan foothills but also in the desert state of Rajasthan. A mix of cold weather and fog have crippled train and flight services in the region as well.

From my experience, this is the coldest winter I have experience at IIT Roorkee. Usually, a coldwave dissipates in 5 or 6 days, but it has been a solid 8 days since the sun last came out in full glare - and even when it does, just for a few hours instead of several days. A characteristic of this season, and indeed a favourite for first-time students, is the mist that comes out of your mouth and nose when you talk or even breathe. Well, that is usually a feature observed in the early mornings or late evenings and the night. But of late, it's become an all-day affair, signalling just how deep this coldwave has gotten.

Among other consequences, washed clothes do not dry in this weather, which makes it a real challenge! The solution is to dry them indoors, using whatever space is available. Another issue is going out to meet friends - there is no public space in Roorkee where people can meet under a roof, which reflects the archaic midnset of the people who have been running this place. The solution is to meet in the ICC or MGCL, where you can talk, though not very loudly. And of course, in your own rooms, if you're of the same sex.

Finally, IITR continues to remain a backward institution with the euphemistic office of "Students' Welfare" which does nothing for the welfare of students, but everything against it. Heaters are still banned for students, although it's an open secret that half of them possess one. Watchmen use them openly and illegally, while the regal faculty is allowed to use them at home, in the chambers and any seminar room of their choice. Fortunately, the Placement Complex is fitted with heaters, so that companies are not sacred away by the cold.

In the recently-concluded Inter-IIT Sports Meet Roorkee 2012, all teams (except IITM) suffered from the cold, with only the IIT Mandi team actually having some experience. Chilling tale. 

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