Friday, January 14, 2011

Engineering and Politics - PART 3 - By Vickramabahu Karunaratne

PART 1: Resist the Rag
PART 2: Science Faculty Days

PART 3 - Confrontation with Electric Gunda

I entered the Engineering Faculty proper with its reputation for many things, the least of which was politics.

However, it is the great fortune of the international proletariat that my political Gurus of the Engineering Faculty identified me as the best bet for the future! Kumar, Doru, Dharmawardhana at al, the pantheon of Marxists within the Engineering Faculty approached me and within weeks, even before I could call my mother, I was co-opted into the Sama Samaja Youth League.

I continued to pay my due attention to my studies. In particular, I was attracted to Electrical Engineering by an incident in the electrical lab.

That was the first day in any lab in the Engineering faculty. While chatting, I had inadvertently connected a resister across a terminal of a Cadmium cell.
Then suddenly the man in charge appeared.

Guess who? Electric Gunda, the ferocious bright man who had returned from America with all kinds of modern ideas!

The man lifted the Cadmium cell for all to see and shouted: “Who left it like this?”.

All were trembling. I took a deep breath and muttered “Myself”.

Gunda threw the cell on the table shouting “You will have to pay thousand bucks” and walked out. (Moderators note: what? Instead of asking Bahu to leave the lab?)

I immediately disconnected the battery.

But I learned the lession of my life not to meddle with any engineering equipment without understanding the background.

So much so that even today, I won’t dare to put a household electric switch unless I get into my rubber slippers!

At the end of the day, before leaving the lab, I humbly approached Gunda and asked “Sir, do I have to pay thousand rupees?”

He put on one of those terrible grins and said “Noup, get out”.

Such dramatic incidents increased my affinity to Electrical Engineering in particular.


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