After crossing innumerable hurdles,We boarded the shalimar express from chennai on the 27th morning at 9.30.We were on our way to Kharagpur to participate in IIT's ksitij.Annual techno-management fest of IIT Kharagpur.The train journey was uneventful,we hadn't prepared anything for our event'Disha'.So much of our time was spent in brainstorming for ideas.We could just manage to prepare a 2 page document.Hadn't even started preparing the ppt.We reached Kharagpur,the following morning at 11.30 tired and famished(blame the eastern railways for the awesome food they provided!)It took another 45 minutes by auto to reach IIT.Once inside IIT we had to hunt for the registration desk,the campus was a sprawling 2000 acres!There was a long queue at the registration desk,finally after an ardous 30 minutes in the afternoon sun we registered for accomodation.We were provided lodging at Transit hostel.Roughly a km from the registration desk.In a hurry to get to our 'rooms' (i had no idea what was in store for us)I left my borrowed digital camera on the desk.Fortunately for my friend, from whom i had borrowed it i remembered it just in time before we got into the rickshaw,ran back to the desk,it was lying where i had left it.We reached our hostel soon and were made to wait in the lounge(If you can call it that) for a volunteer to officially check us in.I was hoping for some sort of a small room just for the two of us.Instead we got a small room attached with a bathroom to be shared by 22 participants.Already half starved to death(we hadn't eaten since the previous night)We didn't have much energy left to even complain.Quickly we got dressed and left for a meeting for the participants of DISHA.Before that we had to refuel ourselves.We saw a canteen on the way to registration desk.Thinking it would be good,I ordered dal,rice and curry.My friend wisely opted for noodles.One mouth of the rice i had had enough!There was a strange not so good smell emnating from the Chawal and the dal curry was hopeless to say the least.Having been used to hot sambar rice from down south,this felt utterly inedible,yet people were queing up to get their meals.Cursing myself for having left the comforts of home,We went to the main building for the meeting.It turned out it was not a meeting at all.The organisers wanted to take a look at our solutions( ppts).We had none!We set to work immediately.By the time we finished it was close to 2.00 am!Outside it was bitterly cold,thankfully i had my jacket,my poor friend forgot to bring hers.Together we walked back the two kms in silence. We were too tired to talk,but my mind was reeling with questions. I was feeling lost. What on earth was i doing in this strange place at this unearthly hour when i could be sleeping in my bed?! There was very little space available in the room but one corner of the bed was unoccupied.We had to squeeze ourselves to fit into the little space.We had to be up by 7.00,that would give us sometime to rehearse before the actual event at 9.00 am.The light was turned on,someone was watching a korean teleserial on the laptop, non stop chitchat, there were no clean blankets or pillows available but nothing bothered us.We slept like logs for the next few hours. We woke up at 7.00,already feeling claustrophobic we went downstairs to the waiting room to practice our presentation.Honestly we didn't have any hopes of winning.We just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.Back in the room it was still very cold and no way we were going to take bath in the freezing water.Who knows one could even catch pneumonia or tuberculosis! We dint want to risk it. we washed our faces and set out to the auditorium for our presentation.There were 10 finalists but 3 of them couldn't make it to Kharagpur.So Seven.The Judges arrived.All eminent personalities from the social sector.The presentations began.We were 4th or 5th team to present.We were getting restless sitting and watching other teams on stage.Finally it was our turn,though we had rehearsed considerable number of times we couldn't do our best.Much of what we wanted to say were left unsaid.Ours was the briefest presentation,lasting just about 6 minutes while the other teams went on to exceed the time limit of 13 minutes.We were asked 3 or 4 questions by the judges.I must say We managed quite well.We had no intentions of watching the rest of the teams. We left the auditorium, very glad that it was over.We had figured out that were better restaurants available on campus. So we walked to one such open air restaurant and ordered greasy food.
We ate to our heart's content,the food wasn't great but atleast not inedible(Looks tempting though!)After the heavy luch,We trudjed back to the auditorium just in time for the results.Lo and behold !we were adjudged the winners!!The first place was a tie,so we shared the honours with another team from Tamil nadu!The rest of the time was Spent in basking in the glory of success.Quite literally I was basking in the sun the whole of next day.It was a huge confidence booster for us,having come this far from home.(1547kms to be precise)We weren't expecting it so it was all the more sweeter!The train journey back home was wonderful.We weren't worried about the food this time.We were going home!.Learnt three bengali words from our co-passengers.After a 26 hour journey,the Kanyakumari express reached chennai!There were intense expressions of joy and happiness written on our faces!We couldn't hide it! We won in IIT!I went home to enjoy a sumptuous meal prepared by my mom and slept that night dreaming position and momentum operators!I had quantum mechanics assignment test the next day in college!