Regardless of the wreckage and disregard, he maintained a legitimate persona in the hearts of many. Awesome would just be a meager verbatim to precisely demonstrate this demon on the racing track. Undefeated in the questionnaires, he nailed down the quizzing arena numerous times in the institute. Nothing can possibly be tried to stop the rapid evanescence of this brewing talent from our Alma Mater. An astonishing crownless king and a charismatic outcome of VSSUT is about to bid goodbye soon. Keeping this is the intellect, Team ViSSion felt revered enough to interview the insignia of wisdom, captaincy and camaraderie; Raunak Panda, final year, Production Engineering Department…
Team ViSSion: 4 years, 7 semesters, 98 examinations, 75% attendance, an armada of achievements and a fountain of failures; 1 more month and gradually life at VSSUT shall approach its end. So, what were these 4 years for you like- 4 years of forbidden fantasies, garden of grief or an ambience of ambivalence?
Raunak Panda: Honestly speaking, I do not have a single clue, as far as I reminisce, how quickly these 4 years have finally come to an end. I still remember my freshman year, pretty vividly. I guess, life in Burla is better than the best, may not be in VSSUT, though. I feel like I’ve earned tons of amazing friends to spend an arsenal of time with them all and then, time didn’t spare me time to believe it’s zooming like a flash. 75% attendance is like an irony for me, because I don’t seriously remember which the last class that I attended was. Semesters are like a joke for me, because 7 semesters fit well with my 7 pointer grade point. And I’m sorry if I’ve probably lost count of the number of examinations. Is that really 98? Wow! And now I’m in the final year and I hardly have attended 10-12 classes in 2018. So this is how the coaster of my 4 years of engineering rolled from eating & sleeping to admiring cute girls and from fun with friends to sleeping back again!
Team ViSSion: We walk, stumble, fall and fall apart; we crawl, then rise up again and fight back! VSSUT has seen all these phases of your life. What happens to be the biggest takeaway of your life from Burla?
Raunak Panda: It would be rather unfair, if I say there’s just one! Still, I’d go with the dictum that how Burla has shaped me the way I am today, as the biggest takeaway. I’ve learnt more than enough from this place. 4 years back, I was a completely different person, and today, one can clearly identify the Hell and Heaven difference. I believe that VSSUT is hollower from the inside than the outside. In my opinion, I’ve had the privilege of being taught by just 1-2 good professors in my entire 4 years. So, the biggest change in me was that I learned to teach myself, because previously, I had to rely on the school teachers. I learned making good friends, judging the mettle of the one in front, judging what the best is that I can offer to the society around me. I’m still nervous about this, because till date, I feel like people get offended by my sense of humour. But, I fail to explain that this is what I am. Burla is the foreground of facade and, believe me, this facade has kept on expanding in these 4 years. So, Burla may not mend you as an engineer, but it’ll surely bend you as a very good person. Even the alumni speak that Burls definitely teaches you a lot. If you ask me, I too have a fountain of failures. But I had to rise up and fight back. It was difficult, but then yes, Burla has made me much stronger. I’ve imprinted all my failures right from the tip to toe and someday, I believe to wipe them all away.
Team ViSSion: Your involvement in extra-curricular activities has extraordinarily been immense. How do you manage your academics amidst all these?
Raunak Panda: That’s a very simple question. I’ve donated absolutely zero importance to my academics. The last examination that I seriously studied for was in the 3rd semester and before that, was probably for the Engineering Mechanics examination in the 1st semester. I had never put interest in the studies after that, because till date, I prefer enjoying the cozy aura of the last bench, being the tallest of all. And the problem in the last bench is that the teachers don’t feel the same coziness to increase their volumes while teaching for the last benchers. This led to my active involvement in everything interesting other than academics. I don’t know if I should, but I don’t care to regret that!
Team ViSSion: Everyone knows that nothing gives an adrenaline rush as the thrill of speed and racing. You have even led the SAE to numerous glories. So what fuelled your interest in cars and racing? What is the driving force of your life?
Raunak Panda: First of all, I wish I had some glories with VeerRacers. But, unfortunately for me and fortunately for the team, it’s doing really well in its own way. There, of course, were certain issues, people judge us on the basis of which. But, it’s fine to take time. Even Rome wasn’t built in a day. So also, I just hope people remember me in the future that there was someone who was dedicated to the team, VeerRacers with all the might he had. About the driving force, it’s the fact that it takes a complete one year to frame the beauty of a beast mobile and the, getting the pleasure to roll over its wheels for just 15 days. It’s like an orgasm in its own, sitting in a Formula styled open racing vehicle. I had the privilege to drive 3 such motor cars and probably, I’ll drive many more. And each time, the team has developed the feeling of performing better and better. The childhood memories of playing with the toy cars of ‘Hot Wheels’, still generate the adrenaline rush in my veins. But, I’m afraid, I won’t be able to race for long, because my days are numbered in the institute. VeerRacers has taught me a lot, but my most favourite lesson is that I should never lose hope because the quantity of failure is more than that of successes, I should rather feel proud of the quality of memories that I preserve with myself about the days that we spent building the car and then, riding it. Those videos and the sound of the engine happen to be the driving force…
Team ViSSion: It is a pretty well known fact that you have scalped numerous laurels for yourself and the institute in the field of quizzing as well. So how does that come so naturally to you?
Raunak Panda: I’ve been insulted already a lot for the word ‘scalped’. It is clearly justified why it came to my vernacular English, isn’t it? Anyway, it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s just that I believe, I have much more useless time than anyone else. So, I use that useless time to so some useless studies, which account to absolutely nothing in the eyes of the general public, but I love doing it. I guess, I love scratching my eyes randomly through the slides of ‘slideshare’. Actually, when I was serious for CAT, which rested in peace real real bad, I had left using ‘facebook’, and the only thing that I missed were the quizzing pages. When I quiz, I decompose the infinity of stress. I’ve faced a lot of problems, like I have little quarrels, as well, with my girlfriend because I spend a lot of time reading and researching something for a quiz. I would definitely express what I feel for quizzing. I may have scalped numerous laurels in quizzing, but that’s just in VSSUT and outside the institute, I’ve just won 2-3 trophies, that too within the state. So, I just hope the quizzing culture develops and reaches heights in VSSUT, because outside the institute, we still are a rookie!
Team ViSSion: We all know how important FORMULA BHARAT and TATA CRUCIBLES were for you. Years of practice and 2018 proved to be not too satisfactory for you. Where do you think things went wrong? Would it be too personal if we ask you to share with us your grievances?
Raunak Panda: Just don’t ask me about the grievances; I might start crying. The loss experienced in FORMULA BHARAT was quite painful, because we had put in it the efforts of about one and half a year. But the best part was that VSSUT had never before experienced, the competition provided it with. It was tough enough to shackle the boundaries within which the level of this remote town, Burla respires. It’s pretty easy when we say that one can easily learn everything from the internet, but a physical interaction is a must, and this is what Burla lacks in, and this is what we learn when we go to competitions like TATA CRUCIBLES. We learned that our quizzing circle is not too active and I, personally, learned that I should never count my losses as losses, I should count them as the number of opportunities I got to ameliorate in the things I let go wrong. You asked me about 2018, right? Well, it’s just April and we’ve got 8 more months to prove ourselves to be the best. I know someday, somebody from VSSUT will acquire what is dethroned. And I’m really happy for that!
Team ViSSion: We want an honest confession. Are you more temperamentally attached to SAE or more sentimentally related to QUIZZINE and why?
Raunak Panda: Man, that’s a tough question. Can I not skip this question? See, I can’t possibly choose. It’s like asking someone to choose between your father and your mother. QUIZZINE and SAE are the only delicacies that have kept me happy in these years. I just wish I could ever attend my first SUPRA class again, I just wish I could ever play my first quiz again, I just I could ever thank my seniors for believing in me when I was your age, I just wish I could ever offer anything in return to these clubs deeply ingrained in me other than dedication. I’ve played a central role in both SAE and QUIZZINE for a long time. I know that I won’t be able to stay for long with SAE, but quizzing is for lifetime. So, today I may not be able to answer this question, but 5 years later, I might…
Team ViSSion: Please comment on one thing that makes Raunak Panda, ‘The Raunak Panda’ he is today; the one thing which juniors as well as seniors are in awe of.
Raunak Panda: I’d definitely like to meet these juniors and seniors who’re in awe of this Raunak Panda, especially if they’re cute girls. I’m just a regular guy; there’s nothing special about me, though. I’m a normal guy who has a small circle of friends with whom I like to spend time with. I’m pretty honest on the face of whoever is in front, and probably, this is why, people are awe of this attitude, and not me exactly. I don’t feel the necessity to regret my mistakes; I, rather, learn from them. If anyone wants to learn something from me, it’s going to be a very free and frank advice that get out of the four walls of this institute and go out to make new friends, propose the girl you love and stay cool even if you get rejected. The same goes with the girls as well, especially for those who never proposed me in these 4 years. All you’ll ever find in the four walls of your room is comfort and comfort will take you nowhere…
Team ViSSion: What vibes and vision do you have for Team ViSSion 2017-18?
Raunak Panda: Wait, what? What is ViSSion, in the first place? I don’t know ViSSion. I just know there exists a group of talented individuals who have dedicated their time and soul to bring to the mass of VSSUT the truth that we deserve. I’m pretty much impressed with the team because in my 4 years, I believe, Team ViSSion 2017-18 has reached the unprecedented apex. I was in my freshman year when ViSSion was founded. Since then, I was really dissatisfied because even schools have an active Literary Society, but we neither had any active newsletter, nor an offline magazine in the past 2 years. In addition to this, our Literary Society was all about MUN, which I think shouldn’t be the ruler of the society. But this year, I’m really happy that the Literary Society has conducted AIPPM (mini-MUN) and at the same time, published the University magazine. ViSSion was never this active before. I’m, in fact, a big fan of the articles posted daily and I read them ardently. It’s good to see that some of my best juniors are, in this way, lifting the standard of the institute.
Team ViSSion: Burla has seen a lot of people coming in with high hopes of and from VSSUT and ending up dissatisfied and dejected. What would be the piece of advice to the juniors out there on this?
Raunak Panda: These lines are quite sentimental, though. It’s like my complete 4 years described in this 1 line. People get dissatisfied and dejected only when they expect a lot. There, indeed, is a hype that VSSUT is a government institute and probably provides with ample placement opportunities. But, like I had mentioned earlier, VSSUT is hollower from the inside than the outside. This is something that I say to everyone, especially my school juniors. But, there’s a lot that can be done for and in this institute. There are underrated talents in various clubs, that don’t get the best opportunities. So, I’d suggest go seek for your calling and never turn back. Do whatever makes you feel better. Difficult times shall always arrive. Get dejected if necessary, but have the guts to get dejected again. No matter what, don’t just sulk yourself into a bottle of beer. Keep your spirits spirited like you’re supposed to do!