Two incidents yesterday re-affirmed my faith in humanity, at a time when all one gets to read in newspapers are details of robberies, kidnappings, rapes and murders. The first one happened when the front tyre of my car got punctured on the busy DND Flyway connecting Delhi with neighbouring Noida. As car after car zoomed past us and as my driver became breathless trying to replace the tyre without much success, I had almost decided to walk the 2-km stretch to the toll gate in the noon sun and look for some help. No sooner had I asked my driver to accompany me to the toll gate, we spotted a guard walking towards us with a barricade. He helped us barricade the area considering that one or two of the cars raced past us and almost handicapped my driver who was kneeling down. Both men got together and replaced the wheel and then the guard walked away. I called out to the guard and handed him a twenty rupee note. The guy just refused the money point blank and walked away. In this day and age, when people are after each other's lives for money, this simple action of the guard who worked for his salary, irrespective of the amount, stunned me.
The same evening I boarded a flight to Chennai and arrived at Chennai Airport around midnight. I boarded a pre-paid taxi to IIT. The driver of another pre-paid taxi from the airport stopped us at Guindy(near Mount Road). He told us that his car had suffered us an accident and he wanted this taxi-driver to ferry his lady passenger to her home in Besant Nagar. The lady and her luggage were transferred to my taxi. The lady in question didn't know Tamil, the local language. As I wondered if I should ask the driver to drop the lady first (Besant Nagar falls after IIT), the driver broke the silence. He asked me if I minded if the lady were dropped first. I agreed at once. The lady was dropped off at her home and she thanked us. I felt it was good thing since the roads were deserted and it was past midnight. But more than that, the sincerity of the taxi-drivers amazed me.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
I'm sure none of us likes the name of our institute to be misrepresented. And in this context, reports in some sections of the media have irritated me to a large extent. A common mistake is to refer to IIT- Madras as IIT-Chennai and abbreviate it as IIT-C. And accordingly, IIT-M stands for IIT-Mumbai which incidentally is called IIT-Bombay. The point here is that our institutes cannot change names according to the will of politicians who have their own compulsions of vote bank. We, at IIT-Madras are still IIT-M and not IIT-C and this holds true even for IIT-Bombay which is still IIT-B and not IIT-Mumbai. For the media, it may be trivial but for me it's a brand and brand names are established identities.