Mukul Jindal, Avanti Mentor, 26 September 2011
The Avanti IIT Roorkee – Dehradun chapter team geared up early in the morning to travel to Dehradun for the launch event. The not-to-be-trusted bus routes made the team reach the venue an hour before scheduled to ensure that everything ran on time. The scorching sun coupled with the two hour bus journey were not enough to beat the spirits of our team.
Slowly and steadily, the fellows along with their parents arrived at the venue. The eyes of the fellows searched for familiar faces in the crowd in the form of their mentors. The mentors were also filled with excitement when they came to know that they would meet the JRS Dehradun Director, Mr. D.C. Pandey, whose physics book by Arihant Publications most of us are familiar with. But a sense of disappointment came over the team when we were informed that Mr. Pandey was down with fever and would not attend the event.
Lavika Aggarwal, one of the mentors, introduced our chief guest Mr. L.P. Prabhakar, Mathematics teacher at JRS Dehradun, who addressed the gathering. He told us the story of an orphan child who with the help of funds collected by villagers studied well and reached a very senior position in the Indian Government. This gave our fellows a ray of hope that through consistent hard work, one can reach great heights. Then Mr. Neeraj Tripati, Chemistry teacher at JRS, stressed how much the JRS staff and Avanti team are committed to guiding the fellows while stressing that their self-confidence and consistent hard work would play a larger role in their success.
Naga Reddy, Avanti’s Director Operations then briefed the parents about the Avanti Fellows program and its evolution. Naga said, “After a lot of efforts, getting drenched in the heavy rains daily while visiting schools and bearing continuous humiliation by disinterested school authorities, there was a meager response in our first selection test, which almost convinced us to shelve plans for the Dehradun chapter. But a never say die attitude pushed us to try once again and the result is now in front of all of us!”
Babji Thothadi, Director of the IIT Roorkee ACT then took over along with Mohit Garg, Manager Operaions and Ankit Kuchal, Manager Mentorship to motivate the young students. A short introduction of the mentors followed. Then the fellows one by one introduced themselves to their fellow-mates, their parents and the Avanti team, and expressed their enthusiasm. They also spoke about how they want to use the IITs as a launch pad to achieve their goals. A sense of attachment was easily noticeable between the mentors and fellows.
After all formalities including the distribution of certificates were completed, we were greeted with refreshments in the form of delicious samosas and gulab jamuns. Meanwhile, the mentors tried to spend as much time as possible with their fellows to solve their doubts and motivate them. The parents then took leave and left their children behind for class. With happy faces and satisfied tummies, our team then left for Roorkee. The bus journey back was made all the more exciting when the whole team joined in for a game of Dumb Charades.