Yours Sincerely, Data Sheet – Alpha

Posted: April 13, 2013 by Jinkchak in RVCE, RVCE CSE, Short Stories
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
old letter with vintage feather quillR.V. College of Engineering,
R.V. Vidyanikethan Post,
Mysore Road,
Bangalore – 560059

 9th January, 2013

Dear Final-Year Student of the 2009-2013 batch,

The time has finally arrived. It has been a journey with a lot of ups and downs, but I managed to survive and see you through. Now, after 7 semesters of enduring all the tough spots I got you into, you can safely say goodbye to me, but not before I draw your attention to all the situations I found you in, thanks to my handiwork. You must be wondering who I am and why I say this. Sit back, relax and enjoy the words that follow because this is the last time I will ever contact you…

I’ve known you for quite some time. In fact, I’ve known you from the time you stepped into RVCE and headed to the stationery shop opposite the mini-canteen, to buy, as you might have guessed, stationery. I was one of the items on the list, at a cost of Rs. 0.30 per sheet. I’m delighted to say that you purchased around 100 replicas of me.

Data Sheet 1 - Copy copy

Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start.
When you read, you begin with A-B-C.
When you sing, you begin with Do-Re-Mi.
When you write, you begin with Physics and Chemistry

Alright! Perhaps I will be castigated for my addition to the “Do-Re-Mi” song from “The Sound of Music”. However, it conveys exactly what I had in mind. Those of you, who have survived your first year of engineering at RV, have also made your way through three labs that required the usage of data sheets, namely Physics (non-CS), Chemistry (non-CS) and Computer Programming (CS). And this is precisely where I begin my story – the non-CS labs.

physicslabWhen I say “CS”, I mean what I say and say what I mean. In other words, CS = Computer Science, not Counter Strike.The non-CS lab sessions required a lot more preparation than the CS-labs. I have stood witness to the fact that before any of the non-CS lab sessions began, besides studying the procedure for your next experiment (for most of you, “studying” was almost, if not completely, ignored after your first or second year at RVCE); you had to engrave words, numbers or diagrams on my dear surface. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that students can be categorized based on the time at which they decide (if they decide at all) to initiate the transmission of ink from their pens to my surface to form legible or illegible text and tidy or untidy diagrams. But, I’ll get to that later…
Now, coming back to what I was saying earlier. chemistry_lab2When a non-CS lab session actually began, students were required to display the results of their endeavours to the lab teachers in charge, as soon as they entered the lab (give or take a few minutes). The teacher would filter the good and bad data sheets. And by “bad”, I allude to the ones that didn’t have the good fortune of possessing filled-in blanks at my header. Red question marks would find their way to those blank spaces (as depicted in the figure at the beginning of this letter). Some students didn’t have the good fortune of even possessing any data sheets, leave alone filled ones.

throw him out_Depending on the teacher in charge, they were:

  • reprimanded severely or gently;
  • thrown out of the lab;
  • asked to complete the process of transmission of ink from pen to paper;
  • confronted with all of the above.

I was needed the most while an experiment was being performed. After all, you needed a place where you could note down your experimental observations, and I was ideal for the task.

An important point to note is that in the chemistry lab, there was always a high probability of me personally interacting with chemicals, which were brought in contact with me. Whether it was done accidentally or deliberately, I know not, but if it was done deliberately, I guess the perpetrator stood vindicated since I always ended up in bad shape. And the experiments involving Titration that provided very little room for error?!! Brrr….Don’t even get me started! Still gives me the creeps…

lab got overAt the end of an experiment, you would take me to the teacher in charge, so that he/she could scrawl his/her autograph on my footer. However, by the next lab, if no autograph was present, it meant one of the following:

  • Your observations were incorrect.
  • You hadn’t finished the experiment on time.
  • You had forgotten to get the teacher’s autograph.
  • You hadn’t bothered to attend the lab.

Data Sheet 2 - Copy copy

autographIt’s funny how a simple autograph was always the single most coveted item of any student. Some of you would go to great lengths to gain possession of an autograph at the end of an experiment, even if it meant manipulation of observations in order to trick the teacher into releasing an autograph that you knew you didn’t deserve. There were scintillating personages who considered themselves to be the best judges of their experiment’s observations, and thus, thought it only befitting that they bestow upon themselves, the privilege of forging their teacher’s signature on me.  The culprit had to hope against all hope that his/her deed would remain hidden in the sands of time, for being caught red-handed by the authorities was anything but pleasant. I bet I’ve witnessed thousands of incidents related to manipulation – more than I care to recall…


  1. […] labs, lab externals –the entire jingbang has been covered in Yours Sincerely, Data Sheet – Alpha, Does the word “Turbo” ring a bell? and “Oye! Extra Data Sheet Hai Kya?”, so I won’t […]

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