The Daily Post had been asking us: Do you have a good friend or close relative with whom you disagree on a major issue (political, personal, cultural)? What’s the issue, and how do you make the relationship work?
Three students can do a project together.
We got that as a notice, and it was final. We were hoping that five of us could do a project together, because the last time we all gave a seminar together, it turned out very good
except for the part where I messed things up and we thought we’d all be in this together again, but no. They had said that only a maximum of three students could do a project together.
We never thought about one or two of us doing it alone… if three’s the maximum limit, then three members we will be. And so, we began hunting for one more member so we could split ourselves into three (although my friends told me strictly not to be very kind and invite the girl beside me over, because she doesn’t work at all… I’d taken a seminar with her before and I knew it, so I agreed, even if it was rather reluctantly). We were last benchers — something I’m proud of, even now. Three of us from the last bench (Me, D and G) and two from the second-last(B and N). And we knew that the four girls of the third bench who always stuck together had to sacrifice one anyway to some team, so we asked them, and M from the third-from-the-last bench said she’d join us.
And we were all set — six girls, ready to split in two teams.
You see, the adage ‘birds of a feather flock together’ had been so right. I never knew myself, D and G fit in so well until later… B and N were really good friends (more like the studying sort, completely different from us back-benchers) yet we were sure that everything will be okay.
Myself, D and G had thought of forming a group. After all, we were of the same bench! But the intelligent D, thinking that we won’t be able to concentrate on our project if we work with our close friends, decided that she will not work with G. (Although myself and D were not a safe combination as well)… and it so happened that after a week or two… everything was decided. Myself, D and B, who resides in front of my house, were a team. D reasoned that it would be perfect for me to work with B because our houses were just a few feet away from each other, and only one person had to actually travel.
D is known for her intelligence, and after she gave such a solid reason, all of us felt it was a wonderful plan. And so, G joined with N and M. And we were all set. Both our teams had gone early before the other teams and had chosen the same professor to guide us. And both teams had chosen VLSI as our domain, and our professor even began talking to us about the topics that he could assist us with, about whatever topic we had to select in VLSI.
We had decided to choose the topic later, as we had been studying VLSI only then, and knew nothing about the subject. We had formed teams so early because of the pressure from our HOD. But after this semester, we all came back to our professor and pondered over the topics yet again… and our team chose to so something with ‘LDPC codes’, while the other team was undecided. After the semester holidays, our team had arrived at a solid decision: ‘to construct an adder circuit using LDPC codes’, while the other team was contemplating if they’ll also take LDPC codes as their topic. We were really all set this time. Both our teams got ourselves pdfs related to the basics of ‘LDPC codes’ and began studying, because our professor had said that we had to study a lot about these codes, ’cause we didn’t know anything about these yet.
And D and G(from the other team) and myself promised him we’d work hard. Everything was finally set for us…. or so we’d thought.
While we were in the midst of this, B, our team-mate(the girl next door) abruptly said that we had to actually leave everything to a project center and take it easy. Now D and myself were people who didn’t spend money just like that (and mind you, a project in a project center costs approximately 15,000 rupees, meaning I had to give 5,000 rupees away to some group of people because I just didn’t feel like doing my project)… they’d do everything for you… from preparing PPTs to teaching you how to answer the questions you’re asked in your project reviews, they do it all. You don’t even need to know what you’re doing… just mug up what they ask you to, and spit it out in the reviews, and you’ll be all good.
Apparently, D, G and myself did not like this idea. N didn’t like it too, because she’s kind of frugal.
And with only B in our team rooting adamantly for taking our project to the project center, we began making frequent calls to each other and quarrelling in the phone. B was very, very firm that she would NOT give up. But after she knew that she really couldn’t do anything, because she was practically asking the majority of the team to adjust with her, and on top of that, asking us to pay ridiculous amounts for what could be done for free… and going against our wishes. There really wasn’t any other option for her but to shut herself up and co-operate with us, really. Then, she thought of doing the project alone, in some software company (not because of us, mind you… external projects are highly valued, and she thought of trying her luck, but alas..)… but it seemed that it wasn’t really possible, and she came back to us.
And so, we began working on LDPC codes, and we thought we were finally stable now, and everything was really, really set! We were about to do our project!
That was when B came up with something other than a project center… she told us that she’d heard that one of our classmates did a project based on an IEEE paper and finished it within a week! My jaw hung at that. Back then, I didn’t know there was this method in which students simply picked up a base paper and just placed a few extra transistors over it and told the world that they had modified it and bam, the project would be over. I and D despised the idea… we were girls who believed we need to put a little bit of effort in what we did. Though I’m lazy in many ways, I wanted to actually know what I was doing.
But B thought otherwise.
And so, the dispute started… about which project we were going to take up. D and myself were firm since day 1 about the project, but B kept oscillating… and we didn’t quite like it. In fact, it was much more than ‘not liking’… we were… we were… furious…
Let’s just say that we didn’t have many a pleasant conversation after that.
B in our team and N in theirs, both were fixed on IEEE based projects now. Both were a good pair back in the second-last bench, and we three last benchers felt it was a mistake trying to split ourselves. After all, we three had craved to continue LDPC, but it wasn’t even possible to change teams right now. It was too late.
I thought we would never end up doing what B says, because, she was just the minority. In their group though, G was the only one who was like us, so theirs didn’t have a chance, but we still had. We both (the majority) wanted to continue what we had just started. I knew that poor B had to give up.
Many lovely conversations, and a few days later…
We had come down to B’s plan. She was so firm that she said “I will come only if you people do that one.” And we two didn’t have an answer for that. Sure, we both were tougher girls, and we could definitely fight better, but we thought that instead of spending months together quarrelling with each other, it was best to finish it soon. We were not keen on spending a lot of time with her.
Though B had a valid reason of suggesting all that (that we have to get out of town and back everyday this semester for classes, and we wouldn’t find enough time to do this), I still didn’t like the way she thought everything should be done the way she says. I’m a very adjusting person, and if she probably requested me, I would’ve been with her in this.
But what’s done is done, and we are back to being friends, ’cause I cannot be that way with anyone for long. But D hates her now, for all B’s done to achieve this. And even when I talk to D about B, her despise is so contagious that I speak a few words behind B’s back, like how adamant she is. I feel it’s wrong, because I had thought that I, of all people, do not talk behind people’s backs, but this time, maybe I am proving that I’m also human, after all.
But anyway, I put on a smile and talk to her without any hate whenever I’m with her… and she smiles at me too, and things are almost normal… from the surface.
And things will always be so.
And we will finish our project soon.