Aniruddh Padia (Manager of Puducherry operations), 2 October 2011, Madras
The 19 kids at JNV Puducherry set out on a trip to their dreamland – IIT Madras – to see its annual technical festival, Shaastra. Enthusiastic budding geniuses dressed in school uniform accompanied by a few parents and Mr. Shankar, the Physics Sir at their school, started the tour led by a couple of members from the organizing team of Shaastra 2011.
Little did I know that Ginneo and Sunil dreamt of building an IC engine that I saw the thrill in their eyes upon seeing remote controlled cars battle out in a race. The roaring of the engine, the fuel smoke, a track full of obstacles and the sight of some dashing monster cars were all enough to feed their curiosity.
Chetan pointed out – “It’s funny how junk can be used to make vehicles. Is there a possibility of becoming a mechanic after doing IIT? I see a lot of profit in that line!” All this was just a spark, for the flame – Manual Robotics – one of the most esteemed events was still to be watched. I could not help but notice their expression at this point – smiles, faces full of awe and the zeal to make something similar soon!
After a heavy dose of technical events at Shaastra, the students paid a visit to the unwind zone. Competition was evident at the Alienware Gamedrome where the students battled out on LAN, reaching the finish line using nitro, drifting and top speeds, and a healthy gaming spirit. The game zone also had the Shaastra Maze and several other games which were built to test simple logic and common sense. Lastly the students visited exhibitions at Shaastra conducted by companies and by students thereby getting a broader view of what is in store for them in the near future.
It was past 5 when it was time to bid goodbye and none of the 19 wished to leave. The unique experience and the joy of learning are what I would categorize as value add leaving aside the fun involved. Apart from being exposed to the tech savvy world around them, there is after this visit, a tangible reason for them to study hard and get into one of India’s best engineering institutes. Shaastra 2011 did indeed inspire its very future!