Mar 23, 2013

The Nobel Cognizance

As I have mentioned earlier in my blog- college fests do not excite me. I have such a don't-give-a-damn attitude that the whole Thomso (with a lot of hype surrounding it as it returned after a year of absence), I did not leave my room- even when the band Indian Ocean was performing in a ground just a few tens of meters from my room. As expected, I somehow got hold of a brochure for Cognizance just a day before it started.

Among the events that were to be a part, the only thing that I wanted to be a part of was the guest lecture by Harry Kroto, the 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner for developing the C-70 fullerene. The lecture was (thankfully) on the first day of the fest. The very idea of meeting him in flesh and blood seemed exciting- and I could not let that chance go.

The first thing to notice when I came out were the condition of the streets. Construction work was going on in full swing in the middle of the tech fest, which is supposed to be the biggest in Asia (which IIT tech fest isn't?) Add to it that just a fifth of people remained in the institute, owing to which every tom, dick and harry at the unusually overcrowded mess was unrecognizable.

The over punctual nature of mine led me to the venue of the lecture a good twenty minutes before it started. There were two weird things about it. One, it was supposed to be in LHC 002 inside the Lecture Hall Complex. Agreed that it is a pretty impressive building, but the fact that you would bring a Nobel Laureate to such a place considering you had far better places like the Senate Hall was a bit weird. Second, the venue was changed to a room whose capacity was about half of the original one, fishy for a lecture by a Nobel Laureate?

We arrived at the hall, Kshitij insisting on taking the last bench, as he believed it was a lecture, irrespective of the lecturer. The room filled in another five minutes, and there were atleast another hundred people in and around the room.

Now came the brainwave- someone announced that we might have to shift to the next room to accommodate all the people, and as soon as that was said, people started moving out like a swarm of bees! Being on the last bench on the furthermost corner of the room, we were the last ones remaining in the room (and knowing that we would not get a place in the other room) I decided to let the Cogni team have a piece of my mind before leaving. As I was about to say something, I noticed everybody was rushing back in- the other room was just a decoy! The doors closed soon thereafter, and we were back to our original seats, watching the infuriated people at the doors. Well played, Team Cognizance. I must say- it was definitely impressive!

All this time, the Cogni guys had been fiddling with quite a few laptops at the dais. I wonder why that was so important, considering that it was pretty simple setting up one on a projector. The question was soon answered, as they projected what was on their computer- a Skype call to Harry Kroto! I suddenly realised we had been tricked, and Kshitij was the one to take the quick action.

He walked out, and I followed. That was the end of Cognizance Day 1, as I knew it.

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