Who am I? What am I doing here?
I am too lazy to get my creative juices flowing (just swam for an hour and half) - so I am gonna 'leverage' an email I once sent... Why? Well... why not? I just want to blab a bit on here. That's why.
Well... Hello Everyone...
Who am I? Another one of "who the **** is this guy now?'
I am Kunal and I too was part of the team that conceptualized the 00 event. A lot has already been said so I will keep it sweet, simple and short.
Congratulations to the entire team (for this year and for all past years) for taking this event to such national (maybe international?) levels.
When we started thinking about Robotix in 1999, we realized that there is a big void on campus in KGP. Everyone either seemed to be doing mundane stuff (read: mugga) or extra-curricular stuff (read:sports, soc-n-cult ...)... or just sit in and around SN/IG trying to chase some dreamgirl (I was one of them - or so junta says).
Jokes apart - life was an extrusion molding machine. You got in, got molded and got out. So where's the real techie who went above and beyond the boundaries of subject, deptts., labs, halls to create something unique... using his/her brains and imagination and some labor?
Along comes this crazy half-baked idea of creating a bunch of robots to compete in IITB's yantriki... So a group of us get together to create a robot that will compete in the waterpolo competition at IITB in 1999. We designed it (actually redesigned it n # of times), got a prof to give us his lab and a bunch of equipment, got Nandi sir to open up the machine lab workshop at late nights and allow us to use plastic and lathe machines and drilling machine (and I don't know what else - bhool gaya yaar...). And so finally, using our bare hands (and of course a whole bunch of technology and machines), we created IITKGP's first robot (well... not really... Prof. Farooqui had already created some but this was the first one to be created by students and to participate in a national level competition).
Two of us (myself and an inspired matka - naam bhool gaya.. sorry) went to IITB with our little creation. And guess what... we did grab a few tt balls in that waterpolo game... and then our little robot sank.... yes... it sank.. so did our hearts ... I think I might have cried as well that day (can't recall for sure - par chalega - kahani me emotion hona mangta hai).
So what's next - we observed how other machines were conceptualized and designed - and how ours was not as good for the objective it was designed to achieve. We also talked to Yantriki organizers to understand how they function and how they get funded... and how they continue to grow. And of course we found a bike to roam around mumbai as welll... There are nice places in gullies around Gateway of India serving awesome butter chicken and naan... the waiter was intelligent enough to figure out we were poor IITians - so he split a bottle of beer into 3 glasses for us :)
Then - we come back to KGP... and the idea of Robotix' is born. Bunty, Alaukik, Varun Rai, Saurabh, Payal and myself form a 'coordination team' - I hope I covered all - (thus giving rise to much known ruthless and successful machines called 'cordi heads' :P) and approach a bunch of profs as well as Ideon folks for some funding and resources.
I think from here on the story is well known and well told... so I will skip the part.
I took you through all this crap not to glorify people who did some of what is mentioned above - but to let you know where all this began and how. It is important to know how we started, how we failed, how we restarted, how we lost motivation when we only saw 8 teams in 00 (and the director commented on the not so great quality of the machines), how we regained motivation to improve and inspire and educate and attract better talent, how we had fundamental and philosophical fights both within us and with some 'other folks', how we we have had ideological differences within us on issues like Robotix and iLabs... and... how we leave all of that behind us and continue to work together as a passionate and inspired team to look up and ahead and move towards bigger better milestones.
I do not have words to describe what it feels to know that Robotix has reach 1000+ teams in participation... and how bad it feels to not be part of the team at this stage...
Not that it may matter a lot to any of you (as I am not the Prime Minister of India or M S Dhoni)... but I still want to say - I am proud of you guys... and I would love to meet each one of you one day and hear about the story as it has continued after I was gone...
Always with this team - in spirit and and in anyway I can help,