Thursday, June 09, 2011

Retro-Day in the Life of Engineer Prateek

| This guest post is written by Anita Menon who blogs at Slice of My Life. A heartfelt thank to her for such an "amazing" post.  

Disclaimer: This is entirely a work of fiction with resemblance to only one living person who is none other than Mr. Prateek Bagri. He invited me to do a guest post for his blog and wanted it to be funny/interesting. This is what I have got! I have used some twitter-related parlance such as tweets and mentions.

Guest Post- Retro-Day in the Life of Engineer Prateek

It was a typical summer day at the “Some Institute of Engineering and Technology” but the campus was exceptionally silent. The leaves rustled across the dust beaten cemented compound of the institute. The heat seemed to sizzle the institute's building and the peon checked his watch again. There was still an hour to go before he could ring the bell and announce the end of the examination. Through one of the windows, he noticed a student glance into his classmate’s answer sheet. He shook his head in repugnance. He had seen this year after year, the faces changed but the habits remained unchanged. Suddenly he heard shuffling of feet on the corridor and turned to look. He didn't expect any student to come out of the examination hall so early. He recognized the familiar face immediately. Thats the Bagri boy!! 

Prateek looked from his cell phone and found the peon staring at him. He just shrugged and started to climbed down the institute’s steps with his eyes still glued to his Sony Ericsson W705. He chuckled to himself while he scrolled down his twitter timeline. People can be unbelievably hilarious, he thought to himself. He tweeted,Exam over. What a relief!" A second later,  ' Ping', he looked to check and found a mention 
'How did you do your exam?' tweeted @dazzler 
"It was okay. What’s important is it's over!" Prateek tweeted back.
"I think you tw'ted in the middle of  your exam. How did you do that? You lot don't take your exams seriously do you?" chided @dazzler
Prateek was taken aback by that comment but paused for a bit before replying " You lot were so concerned about your exams to the point of pure boredom. Yes, you must have been a boring lot!"

Prateek knew that @dazzler had a degree in "Mechanical engineering," completed in 2oo2, which was light years ago, in his opinion. He felt, she did not have a single funny bone in her body. He kind of pitied the time that she would have gone to study at her engineering college. He was absolutely sure; she would have no idea about having a good time.
"Ping' he scrolled to see another mention from @dazzler ' Oh you think I had a boring time at college, only studying. You are so wrong. I had a fabulous time"
"Yeah Yeah, I am sure *chuckles to himself*" he wrote back.
"I wish that you could go back in my time, to see how amazing going to college was at time. Not crowded by cell phones, twitter!!" @dazzler answered
"What no cell phone? I feel sorry for you!" he answered genuinely.
"I feel sad, you would never know a life uninundated with social media clutter and technology" replied @dazzler and closed the conversation.

Prateek boarded the  5:30 p m Metro and reached his home in half an hour. He decided to watch some anime that he had downloaded the other night, when he should have actually spent that time studying. He lay down on his bed with his laptop on his stomach and started watching. Within minutes he was fast asleep.
Next morning he woke up he had the shock on his life. He found himself in a large classroom with wooden benches and he had been sleeping on one. His body pained at different places and his head throbbed. Where was he?  This place didn't look like his classroom or any classroom at this insti. Something was so wrong. The blackboard in front of him was the old fashioned blackboard which had to be written upon with a chalk. His institute had the white marker board. This was all so wrong!!

His first impression was he had been kidnapped while sleeping and brought over to this strange place by this Kidnappers. If that was the case, where were the kidnappers?  He was almost about to dial 100 on his cell phone which still in his pocket, when he heard a loud animated voices coming from outside of the class. Within seconds, he found a large group of boys and girls filing into the classroom with books and pens in their hands. They were all talking amongst themselves and took no notice of Prateek at the back of the classroom. Then one of them turned and looked around to spot Prateek and exclaimed, " Look guys, we have a junior in our class trying to attend a seniors' lecture!" All the students turned their attention towards Prateek and he felt color rise to this cheeks. He quickly bent his head down and started to walk out of the class. On his way out, he noticed that students were actually WRITING in their note books! At their institute they used the laptop to capture any notes and the prof anyways gave them the printed copy of his notes. 

Outside, he wandered the massive corridor still trying to figure out what had happened. He found himself suddenly swarmed from all sides with students, hundreds on them. They all looked funny. None of the guys had their hair done in spikes or even gelled. The girls looks funny in high waist jeans and no make up at all. The girls in his college would rather die than show their face without make up and they all wore low waist jeans. 

"Psst, aren't you coming to class?" he heard a voice and turned around. He saw himself face a chubby girl who wore pigtails. He found himself almost bursting with peals of laughter but he controlled himself. Who in the right mind would make pigtails and come to college?? But she looked innocent and he gathered that she had mistaken him to be a first year student. Just for fun he decided to follow her. Meanwhile he checked his cell phone reception and got nothing. He noticed nobody had a cellphone in their hand or for that matter a laptop. ‘How did they get on with their day, without these basics?’, he wondered aloud.

He followed the girl to the class and sat down next to her. He soon realized that boys sat separately from the girls. He immediately got up and occupied a seat at the end of the class all by himself. The professor came in and started his monologue and in between he found students making  paper rockets, a guy sketching a caricature of the professor and passing it around the class. The girl whom he had followed at the beginning of the class was flying one of the paper rockets and Prateek found himself laughing. The professor had no clue about what was going on. Since the attendance was already done, he found that pig tailed girl slowly sneaking out of the class and running away. Many students followed her suit and he felt like doing the same. All the while the professor had his back turned toward the blackboard. He caught up with the girl and smilingly exclaimed ," Hey, you have some guts!! I have never done this stuff before” She simply shrugged and noticed his cell phone. She demanded to see it and ooh - aahed over it! He asked her if she was on twitter or facebook but drew a blank from her. She took him to college canteen where a huge band of boys and girls were chatting vociferously. Everybody was deeply engaged in conversation, jesting and there was an air of general camaraderie. He joined them and effortlessly blended in. They were discussing movies and one movie in particular , " Kaho na pyaar hai". It was then that he realized that he had journeyed back to a retro era and it was the year 2000!!!!

He felt like someone had knocked the wind out of him. He looked around him and realized he did not fit yet he was actually having a good time. When was the last time, he would had looked up from his cell phone while talking to his friend. For the record his friends never looked up from their BB too!!  Life was refreshingly different and it came as a surprise that the absence of a virtual life made it all the more fun.  He snapped out from his thought when he was nudged by the pig tailed girl wanting to share her snack with him. He smiled and took a bite from the sandwich though as a principle he never ate at his college canteen as his immune system wasn't the best. But once he knew that he would be alright. 

Time passed and one by one everybody started to leave for home. The girl in the pigtails whose name he hadn't asked all this time, came over to him and said her good byes. Suddenly on an instinct he asked her, “Can I have your email id?"
“Why do you need my email id? I hardly ever check my email. Do you know the prices at the internet cafe? Its 40 Rs per hour!!" she responded. 
"On second thoughts, here, you can have it." she said with a smile and scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it over to him.

Prateek glanced at the paper and was stunned at what he read. He felt the space closing in on him and the girl in the pig tails fading in the background. He found himself back in his room with the laptop on his tummy from last evening. He got up, put the laptop away and realized he had a scrap of paper in his hand. He smiled when he re-read the scrap again.
The writing on the piece of paper had dazzler(at)hotmail(dot)com scribbled on it.


  1. How were the girls looking without make-up? Sounds like the Akshay Kumar movie where he had that retro look...I hope you did not have that hairstyle....
    lol, fun read.

  2. 2000 batch wasn't that old also ya!!! Just 10 years ago...

  3. A journey back in time to teach Prateek that life could also be pretty much enjoyable without internet. :P
    I hope you got a lesson from all this.

  4. @Dazzler- you really did dazzle in this post of yours..Nice commentary on how life was life pre twitter and fb..
    By the way pig tails and all..Nice description:)

  5. @Perception- thank you so much..

  6. lovely post.. brought back some memories of colelge friends and life in those good old days
    @Dazzler :- lovely post

    and we learnt a thing or two about prateek tooo :)


  7. A different post, a nice one...Keeps you glued to itself... :)

  8. And true, the advent of social networking and the virtual world has taken the *life* out of our lives...

  9. LOL, Dazzler just dazzled Engineer Prateek in the most uncanny ways. Nice write up, but We, 2011 pass outs did more than just airplanes. And no, we don't mind carrying our phones for SMSing over the large classroom from the last bench to the first.
    But chits with little tweet like messages are more fun. :D

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  10. @Animesh - Thank you

    @Blashemous Aesthete - appreciate it ! Thank you for the comments.

  11. very well penned and a nice read altogether....
    as Bikram said it does reminded the olden days.

  12. Good one. It reminded me of my school days too. No phones and internet was fun too.

  13. Dazzler dazzled u in a big way :)
    It was a fantastic reading.... enjoyed it.

  14. @Irfanuddin - thank you..
    @ Nethra- thanks..
    @ Jyoti - Thanks a tonne..!!:-)

  15. What a great post! Go go guest blogging!

  16. This was a great read, I don't think you let your friend down :P
    He is lucky to have you!

  17. Wow..! It was fun reading this post!

  18. Fun post. And, you made me feel ancient 'coz I did my MBA in 1998 but of course, we were very stylish, who isn't in Mumbai :). Of course, each generation thinks that the one gone by is "gawaar" and those of the previous gen think that the newbies are "immature and shallow." :).

  19. Haha! You got the browsing rate correct Anita! It indeed was 40 per hr. Unfortunately in my town it is still the same. Once I rem in Mumbai(which was then Bombay) I had shelled out 50 rs for an hr at Sify. Lovely post :)

  20. @YummyChunklet-- aww you found time to comedown here to read the post and comment too. How can I thank you enough!!

    @itsmythoughts- thank you so much... Really appreciate your comments

    @UB - thsnks :-)

    @Rachna - SO true.. couldn't agree more

    @coolkamikazecat- I remember most of the stuff from my student days..Ahh.. I miss them so much. Thanks for commenting, so lovely of you as always!!


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