I do live in present but half the time i am reminiscing about the past and the remaining half, i am daydreaming about the future.
Today however was different. My second day in Boston - Sightseeingwise the first one :) Today i lived in past and mourned over what could have been an alternate future that i didnt have.
I walked through two Universities/colleges that are in reality are huge & crowded cities. Harvard at Cambridge and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I have visited a lot of colleges in Bombay and always found two very close to my heart. One - Ruparel - My own Junior college and IIT Bombay - We went there during Mood Indigo during my engineering final year and i had fallen in love with the place. I had never thought any other place would rekindle the magic again, ever but today MIT did.
A little history on MIT is in order. It is a private research university founded in 1861. It has a 168 Acre campus dedicated to various buildings that house laboratories, classrooms, lounges (yes with neon green couches), libraries and endless corridors. Though it started off as an engineering and Applied Science's facility, it has now expanded into Biology, Economics, Linguistics, Political Science and Arts as well. The institute is on the banks of Charles River. As you get down the stairs in the backyard of The Great Dome, you see Boston's very impressive bay skyline. The highrise is no wonder in US but it still amazes you. Or may be it did to me cause highrises are a novelty in Dallas!
First building that i visited was "The Stata Center" - It houses CSAIL, LIDS and Department of philosophy and linguistics. This strangely stacked building was designed by Frank Gehry - A Canadian American Pritzker Prize winning architect based in LA.
Second was the Building 7 thats considered as the official entrance to MIT. It is also known as 'The Great Dome'. This building has endless corridors. All that you need is a strong pair of legs and energy to outdo its length. Its daunting! No wonder they call it "The Infinite Corridor". The backyard overlooks the Boston Bay and i stood there for atleast half an hour clicking pictures and generally taking in the view.
I also visited Simmons Hall and Kresge Auditorium - both build post war and represent contemporary architecture. I also chanced upon visiting the MIT Playgrounds and they are just as huge as the college buildings are!
Some interesting trivia. The undergraduates can wear a ring that is parted only to those that are students in MIT, depending upon the year of the course. The initialism IHTFP is engraved on the ring along with a beaver to mark the experience attached to each year. so for the
First Year - IHTFP stands for - I Hate The Fucking Place
Second Year - I Have Truly Found Paradise
Third Year - Institute Had The Finest Professors
Fourth Year - Its Hard To Fondle Penguins.
Isnt that funny ;)
I was surprised too! i had always imagined MIT students to be all sincere, devoid of fun & sense of humor but here you are! :))
While i was returning back to Red Line to catch my next train to Harvard, a boy - Indian and very simple and studious looking said hello. i smiled and said Hi but continued walking. Finally after walking in parallel for more than 5 minutes, he asked me if i were a student on MIT campus. I said no and asked generally if he was and he said yes. I was bowled! i so wanted to talk to someone who was the actual student. His name was Sandeep and he narrated how it was to be an MIT student. Ofcourse the affiliation is the best thing you can do to yourself afterall MIT is world's number 1 technological institute but it does come with very very hectic schedule! He is doing his PhD in Applied Mechanics. May be i put foot in my mouth as usual but i gasped and told him how i had KT in mechanics during my F.E. and he laughed! he said it wasnt that difficult - Mechanics and i was ready to bow! Thats what you call modesty! He has been staying on the campus for last 3 years and is planning to continue his career in research. He walked me to one of the Indian restaurant nearby - flocked by everyone since its Thanksgiving Day and all the rest of the shops were closed down already! Over the lunch he told me how he thought i was a Bengali. Now thats first. I do get labelled as South Indian quite very often but Bengali is different and first! While he offered to pay for lunch, i denied vehemently saying he was still a student while i earned, albeit a lowly IT engineer. He smiled and said he got a good grant $8K every month! and i was gaping open mouthed. I was like, please pay. He did. We bid goodbye after he walked me to Red Line. Its true that intelligence should always be accompanied by modesty. Its a lethal combination!
The next destination was waiting for me..
I will continue this badbad tomorrow, cause my legs are killing me. I must have walked atleast 20 miles today. The only break was the lunch i had and well 4 Chai Tea Lattes. There is starbucks all over the MIT and its 20 F outside!!!!!
Agenda for tomorrow:
- The famous Duck Tour
- The Freedom Trail
- Prudential Tower
- Boston Bay Tour
See ya tomorrow!!