I spent my four wonderful college years in Rourkela, an industrial town in the state of Orissa, India. My alma mater, Regional Engineering College, Rourkela (soon to be known as the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela), is one of the more prestigious engineering schools in India. It was no mean feat getting in for me and my classmates - entrance was extremely competitive and I think it was as much luck as the hard work that I put in (and my father put in, in making me work hard) that I ended up there. Besides, the education and the valuable degree that I obtained from my stay at REC Rourkela, I made a bunch of invaluable and timeless friends as well as gained invaluable experience about people whom you should not befriend.
During the first two years, I stayed in Hall 1, which had 4 boys to one large room. The first few weeks in an engineering school in India involve what is known as ragging, and the closest thing I that I can think of for the American reader, is the Marines boot camp. You are treated really badly by the seniors, apparently because they were treated badly themselves and because you should be making up for it the next year. I have never been a supporter of this form of fraternization, although at times I have felt that some idiots (including, perhaps, me), did deserve having some corners rubbed off. Anyway, the section on Hall 1 has some pictures from the period 1988-90.
I stayed in Hall 2 during the last two years - the best dorm of all in our college, one of the two at the time that had private rooms. The Hall 2 section has pictures from that phase of life.
The Department of Computer Science, Engineering & Applications was my home department, and my friends from this department are a bunch of interesting fellows worth mention, and they, and their memorable antics can be found in the CSEA Friends section.
The 15 RECs are unique in the sense that they have students from each state in India, based on state quotas and so the student body is quite diverse. Some of the larger states have enough students to justify the formation of state associations and my state (Uttar Pradesh) being one such state, there was a rather active UP Association in our campus. With my family's roots in UP going back more than 150 years in Up, it was only natural that I would join this congregation. The UP Association, however, was the most undemocratic and parochial institution I have had the privilege of being associated with in my life. The only reason it even finds special mention is because of two good friends who were also co-members, and were my partners in leaving the organization in the last year in college. See the UP Association section for some interesting pictures and some stories about the rich and famous of this organization, who give a bad name to my home state.
I discovered my Bengali heritage outside my family for the first time when I came to REC. The Bengali Association, unlike the UP one, comprised of anyone who spoke Bengali and cared to be part of it. It was democratic to the point of being forever locked in discussion and indecision. Nevertheless, this was the most colorful group I have ever met, and the friends that I made here, are the once that I have cherished most. They include seniors who made sure I stayed out of big trouble and juniors who did pretty much the same. We had picnics and singing during power outages (or shouting if you will) and a lot of fun riding trains to and from college. The Bengali boys were collectively known as the Pongopal, which is a horde of locusts in Bengali, a name that we were rightly proud of. However, unlike locusts, this group was rather constructive in more ways than one. The Pongopal section is intended to have all that you would ever want to know about them.
During my 4 years in college, I traveled pretty extensively through the length and breadth of India, either finding a shorter route home, taking a short break in Calcutta, representing my college at a quiz in Madras or a youth festival in Varanasi or presenting student papers at IEEE events in Calcutta, Coimbatore, Nagpur and Trichy. The Expeditions section has pictures related to some of these trips.