Remembering Sandeep...


...Alma Mater

Sandeep wrote this  for the Bhavan's school magazine in 2007.  His life at school in his own words...

I was asked to write a nostalgic story about my years in school , so here it goes . No guarantees as to how much nostalgia it will conjure up. I did twelve years of schooling at Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir , Eroor from 1990 to 2002 . I was the second batch of this great school. I was the average , lazy to core student most teachers had a few problems with.

The fight against cursive writing was a long hard struggle in the lower grades. Mercy Miss & Co would drag kids like me who had cryptic handwriting to the staff room and make us do forceful cursive writing . I would write neatly just to get out of there , thanks to the loving teachers I have almost calligraphic handwriting  now :) . If English Cursive writing was the Battle of Plassey , Hindi cursive writing was WW II

Those were the early years , by the time the higher classes came , things started becoming more challenging , marks were mandatory at home as well as at school , and I wasn’t exactly the topper . A girl called Teena CH was the topper in my class from the time immemorial, and amma would say “ aa Teena CHine kandu padikke “ ! School was not far off , some teachers would sense a virtual talent in me on a particular subject and tell my mother the same during the “Open House “  , they would also add that I wasn’t working hard enough , that’s why my grades were suffering in the subject I had great talent  and promise in , I have always wondered whether it was a ploy to get kids like me study a little bit.

After seventh standard  , things started looking ugly . I was bad at mathematics, really bad . And me and one close friend ,Thomas, who was equally bad or worse was called to the library and was given a proper “bhashan”  by Mala Miss and Viji Miss saying they wouldn’t promote us to the next class unless we guys perked our performance . It was kind of a pep talk , only thing was that we realized it was the end of the world if we don’t really  bend our backs and study really hard . And we guys did well enough to pass thanks to the threat from our adorable teachers. They were our class teachers till tenth and I forever indebted to them and other teachers Rema Miss , Lathika Miss , Sreekantha Miss  for making me what I am today , sounds little melodramatic ? Well its true.

In the eighth class a new student came to class, he sat next to me, so while exchanging pleasantries I asked him what his mother was , he replied saying she was a teacher, obviously my next question was where and which subject , his reply was Bhavan’s Eroor and Mathematics , and of course being a math wizard I knew most of the Maths teachers in school , by now I started fearing the worst , with rising trepidation I asked the next question “ what’s her name ?” The reply sent a shiver down my spine “ Renuka N Menon , Principal" It was Naresh , another good friend and the perennial victim of all our torturous jokes about him as he was  the “First Son of the School “.

Another interesting anecdote is when , having crowned myself the king of vocab , and the ultimate gateway to chaste , pristine English , in one English Model paper for the boards I wrote the past participle ( or whatever ) of think as “thinked”  when it should have been thought . Mala Miss , my Eng teacher at the time gave great publicity to that one in a million mistake and escalated the matter to Renuka Madam . If ever there was a zenith of embarrassment that was it , and as if to add insult to injury she also remarked in my answer paper , “ Shocking ,
 Mr Vocabulary !

I was considered rather cheeky, or rather too cheeky . Let me bore all of you with another incident of my “cheekiness”. Maths paper , two sections geometry and algebra.

Geometry is valued by Renuka Madam and algebra by Viji Miss . So upon not getting an answer completely in geometry I was persuaded to think out-of-the-box , during the exam I remembered that , Renuka Madam , with all due respect , used to start off a problem and give some hint and to improve our skills would tell us that “ On further calculation , we get the LHS = RHS “ , being as innocent (wink) as I was I wrote the same line in the question paper . If the previous incident was the height of embarrassment , this was the height of notoriety . But since by 10th I had reached the level of Euclid on geometry , I was let alone scot-free . I can see Madam smiling when she reads this or if she reads this.

In class twelve , two of close friends Anil and David , were late to school , so to avoid late attendance from Mathen Master, jumped the wall to reach the Maths unit test on time , their intent was academic but execution was pathetic , when they landed on school grounds from the wall , they were caught red-handed by Gopalan chettan and Ashokan chettan and there began a law suit BVM Eroor V/S Anil and Rajappan .The accused claimed that in their excitement to write the exam they did not see the obstacles in their path . This was a long standing joke as the accused held high posts in the school , namely House Captain and Head Boy.

That’s it with anecdotes . In the following paras , I attempt vainly to summarize my school life.

Special Mention to -

- Anuradha Miss , English , she was the real inspiration in me becoming a quizzer , quizzed around a lot in the school bus with Vinod , Alex , Sundareshwar .  
- Dr Geetha Miss ,  Hindi , PHd , for fuelling my fading interest in Hindi  
- Saroja Miss , Hindi , instilling class discipline  
- Sunitha Miss ,Sreedevi Miss , Jayasree Miss  Physics  
- Anil Master and Latha Miss Chemical Entertainment  
- Babu Sir , Mathen Sir , Suresh Master ( aka Suru ) , Late Paul Sir , Lilly Miss , Mohan Sir , Venu Master
- Indu Miss for our knowledge about western Europe and Preethi Miss for the interact club  
- Maya Miss & Sudha Miss, Library Teachers, for their support quizzing wise  
- Mini Miss , for teaching me sorting algorithms in C++ , which was really helpful during my engineering
- Ashokan Chettan (Akkosotto) , Lewis Chettan , Lawrence chettan ,Manoharan Chettan, Rajan Chettan ( salt analyst ) , Gopalan chettan ,  Ponnamma Chechi , Devi Chechi            
Last but not least , Renuka Madam               

Best Trip : Std Ninth picnic , still the best even after college , can you believe that . All teachers were  singing and dancing.

Best Moment : Lots , Magnum Opus, Vox Populi and all other school fests where we could not win much . Sports days and Munshi meets, cheering our super athletes with sip-ups in hand , winning quizzes for the school .

Best Academic Moment  : Some of us were penalized fifteen minutes of our Chemistry unit test for taking a leave to prepare for IIT JEE , when we got in we realized that the guys who had the time advantage did not know a thing on the question paper . In effect the penalty was saved

Most Hilarious Moment : David Rajan’s head boy campaign speech and farewell speech , where he flew a pigeon. For more details , ask teachers who have taught the 2002 batch

Best Meal : Canteen , singing with friends “ chorum kariyum kazichu kazichu njan ippam rogi “ a mallu  remake of Daler Mehndi song “ Na na na na re na re na …” 

Best Academic Project : Testing water salinity of Chambakkara waters , the project was considered for a Nobel nomination but did not fetch any external viva marks

Best Cultural Moment : Anand RV leading the vanchi pattu and our very own “ Vande Mataram “  AR Rahman Style
After School I did engineering in Electronics and Communication from Model Engineering College , Kochi and I am currently working in Apache Design Solutions Pvt Ltd , an Electronic Design Automation company  in Bangalore 

Disclaimer :  The views represent are the author’s alone . Not meant to offend anyone .

Please excuse the self-centricity of this account of our school , as I had very little data other than mine to put across considering the very little time I had . A more wholesome account of how great it was will make a Ved Vyas out of me .  If I have missed anyone in particular to mention , its just bad printing.

Credits : Sharath S Nair , Anil Kumar , Vinod J , Sindhu Miss , Parvathy Miss

...Placement Diary

 Sandeep wrote this during June of 2006, summarizing the activities of the Placement Cell for the 2006 batch of the Model Engineering College students while he was the chairman.

Model Engineering College has a team of 15 Student Placement Coordinators headed by the Principal and the Placement Officer, they together form the Placement Cell.

It all started off in fifth semester when we were elected from our classes, 3 from each class and 15 in all. Some classes had tightly contested elections, some were unanimous and some were selected when all the three were absent ! Then in the presence of our senior Placement Cell, posts of responsibility were specified and a Chairman , Vice Chairman and a Finance Coordinator were elected by the fifteen of our batch . Thus Placement Cell 2006 was now officially formed. We were given preparatory talks by our Principal and the Placement Officer of our college, outlining the strict guidelines of responsibility and selective confidentiality and furthermore our all important duty to secure jobs for 220 students of Model Engineering College.

Simultaneously we consolidated the online database of student details of all  who had registered with PC with a nominal fee.  Then came the arduous task of making the brochure and the website/ web link for the PC . The brochure was updated factually and the design was revamped with an MEC ambigram, lot of companies were impressed with the design.  All this came at a cost of working real long hours at designing, editing, proof-reading etc. The site too was revamped and was given a more classic look, which included student details, PC contact information, previous placements and the lot. The website too was a success and it also included volunteers from outside the PC whose hard work was exemplary. Phase one was over, now came the next phase of establishing contact with X-MECians ( the unknown benefactors !) and through them the HRs.

Thus began a saga of sleepless nights , sleepy days and creeping mobile and home phone bills ! Through the seniors we fixed our appointments with the company HRs and discussed placements with them. That wasn’t all, initially were literally incubated by our seniors, they were still having companies on the Campus and we were helping them out in every way possible, taking more responsibility and authority than just normal volunteers which most of us were a few months back . We would ourselves make a Work-Breakdown-Structure (WBS) which specifies who will do what kind of work. These ranged from the mundane to the meticulous. Like getting the welcome sign designed and ready to the actual conducting of the test and interviews and also the momentous job of taking good care of the company officials’ every whim and fancy ! Well , to put it in a better way we believed in the mantra of "Athithi Devo Bhava".

The WBS was rotated with every company so that everyone got a feel of how everything was done, and gradually there were specific coordinators for different tasks as our warm up was over with the Seniors’ Placements . Finally the Seniors handed total control to us regarding matters of monetary as well as email accounts .

We , also passed our Bye-Laws and got the approval of the students who had registered with the PC . The Bye-Laws had clauses like the Dream Job and also the fee to be paid to PC on securing a job from campus. By the end of 5th semester itself we had started aptitude and technical tests and a good method to grade them on the basis of that. Free hours in classes were converted to technical talks , group discussions and personal interviews , to get each candidate geared up for the cut-throat competition of the upcoming placements. Everyone’s strong and weak points were spelled out and plans were chalked out to refine and improve the same.

Few days before our first slot company, we had a stage rehearsal of how the presentation and tests would be conducted, positions were given to each class in the auditorium and they were given specific test rooms based on the roll numbers the PC had given them.

So on March 19th 2005, MEC 2006 batch placements started and still continues . As I speak more than 80% of the batch is placed.

The average salary is more than Rs.2.72 Lacs and the highest salary is Rs. 5.5 lacs per annum. 

The duty of the outgoing PC is to train and incubate the PC of the next batch, exactly like how our seniors had done to us and the process goes on.

Concluding the article with our slogan “JOB FOR ALL !”

His favorite quote...

Sandeep's favorite quote from his special song in his own handwriting.

Sandeep Menon, Sandeep, Zandy, hema, kochaniyan, Vyttila, MEC, Karuvatta, Thodupuzha