Chennai: A perennial problem which faces thousands of engineers across the country, apart from a severe lack of female companionship and escalating prices of cigarettes, is the ever-contentious issue of mass bunks. So far, not one batch of students has been able to organize unanimous mass bunks in an organized way as there has always been that one student who says ‘Tumko jo karna hai karo, magar main toh lectures bharunga’.
But, if the budding minds of Vella Institute of Technology have their way, the problem might die a natural death soon.Inspired by the recent referendum held in Scotland which asked the people to vote on either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for its independence, an engineering college in the city has decided to roll out a similar system for deciding mass bunks.
“At least twice a semester, all of us get together and decide to have a week-long mass bunk,” says Ravi Kharante, a third year mechanical engineering student. “We spend hours on end dreaming about the holiday which we would spend either at home or in some place like Goa. But, right on cue, on the first day of the mass bunk, there will always be one student sitting in class ruining everyone’s plans. In order to curb this menace once and for all, we have decided that we will hold a college-wide referendum to decide mass bunks from now on. It is a democratic way of deciding. After all, who can argue with the choices of a democracy? We are not Sanjay Jha.”
Rohan Kothriwal, a fourth year electronics engineering student is the brain behind the EVM design for this democratic exercise,”It is a simple but efficient design, first six buttons for ‘Yes’ and the last button for ‘No’. I have kept six buttons for ‘Yes’ because of the high demand for them. Also, if someone presses ‘No’, we will give them a special form asking them ‘Are you sure?’. If they answer ‘Yes’ to that, we will take their final answer as ‘Yes’. See, fully transparent democracy.”
Meanwhile, the ‘No’ voters, who form a small but formidable minority have collected under the umbrella of Mamata Jayawati, a second year civil engineering student who boasts of 105% attendance in her lectures. The extra 5% comes from being in the class even on Sundays. She and her supporters are luring voters with sops like free Maggi packets, one smile a week from a girl and 50 GB of ‘material’, provided everyone brings their own hard disks.
Miss Jayawati is also leading a ferocious campaign against the EVMs saying that, “The EVMs and the voting system is severely mismanaged. We demand that paper ballots be used. It seems that Mr. Rohan Kothriwal has lost his moral compass.” She further added, “It is the right of every student to attend classes. No one can force us not to do so. This democratic exercise is an attack on democracy. The people behind this idea have lost their moral compass.” She declined to comment further as she sped off to pre-order 1701 copies of a book written by an (former) eminent journalist.
The ferocious campaign has left students perplexed. “We obviously want to vote ‘Yes,” says Neeraj Borekar. “But, the ‘No’ campaign promised that a girl will talk to me in front of my entire batch. You don’t know how big a boost that is. Even if I don’t get placed, I will be able to leave this college happily with that memory in my mind. Now, I am really confused about what to do”
Even as the students continue to become increasingly confused, the college’s professors have given the same, age-old answer in response to this issue : ‘Even if one student comes to class, we will teach’.
Let’s hope that the referendum model succeeds at Vella Institute of Technology, paving the way for relief for all other engineering colleges across the country.