“Thoughts do much. Words do more. Actions do much more.”
The adage is rightly appropriate for the highly cerebral persona of Preetam Baag, 4th year Production Engineering, Veer Surendra Sai University of Techology, Burla. A technically sound figure that he is; soft spoken yet outspoken, an active member of the University football team, an occasional cricket player, he has hit all the right chords during his course of engineering.
Team ViSSion recently shared a revitalizing dialogue with this exuberant leader and here’s how it turned out to be.
PRATIK MOHANTY: Firstly, everyone knows how well you fought against the authorities for your friend in the NIT issue. Would you mind sharing with me, whether you regret not joining NIT ROURKELA?
Ans: Yes I do regret, there were reasons. But the fact is, now, I am a proud VSSUTIAN. I will surely miss these golden days of college life.
PRATIK MOHANTY: You are commendable at sports as well. You were in your school cricket team and now in the university football team. Tell me, what sports means to you?
Ans: In everybody’s life, there are up’s and downs, and sports is something which makes you strong enough to handle these situations if you are dedicated to it. Sports is a perfect place to find qualities inside you like leadership,responsibility,managerial quality; how well you can handle pressure and how you maintain relationship with others despite hindrances. Sometimes you win, sometimes you tend to lose, and at times you win in spite of losing. It all depends how positive you can make of a situation, something that I learnt from sports-“positive attitude”.
PRATIK MOHANTY: Generally we tend to give a liberal outlook to the debutants or the first timers. You were there in the team when BAJA started in our university. How different and how difficult it was following up then?
Ans: As a first timer, it wasn’t that difficult. Our seniors managed us well. The problem I faced was being a self sustaining graduate; it was difficult for me to cope up with others. Every meeting and every off field work used to be conducted in hostels. But within a month’s time, everything started running smoothly. First year at team Veers was not challenging as it was a learning phase then. Challenging was this year when you are supposed to carry the responsibility of the whole team on your shoulder. Team Veers is a family and all are treated the same. Every member has a role to play. Earlier you just needed to complete your own role and this year was of managing the entire team. BAJA has taken many things from me, but at the end of the day, it has given something that has indeed made me better. I dream to be an entrepreneur and BAJA has given me the confidence for that. Undoubtedly, BAJA has been the best thing that happened to me here in VSSUT.
PRATIK MOHANTY: You have been a sports captain. You were a technical team captain here. How different is the approach while managing?
Ans: A bit different, though same on some fronts. There is a difference between a 60 minute match and a 7 days continuous event. In a sports team, you have to motivate everyone to come regularly and practice; fitness and injury being major concerns. When you are a leader in sports team, you have to be the best otherwise the team won’t listen to you. This is where the technical team stands different. Being a leader you can’t be the best here but you can have some ideas about all departments. Assigning right work to right people at the right time is most important, here you make one error and your entire plan goes in vain. You must be aware of every member’s efficacy and use them precisely. But I have always given more importance to college technical team rather than sports team, not for the sake of interest but for the betterment of university. Though the principle behind both role have been the same, “Don’t demand respect but make yourself such that, that you will be respected”.
PRATIK MOHANTY: BAJA Team driver. I have heard it is even tougher, both mentally and physically, as compared to captaining the team. What’s your take on that?
Ans: Yes, driving that buggy is tough. We certainly don’t make the best buggy but we try to make as good as we can with the available resources. Off roading is different, a good driver must know his limitations. Driving inside mud, 2 meter jumps, roll overs, track full of stones, and that too with a tight seatbelt is a herculean task indeed. It’s indeed a very emotional moment when a car overtakes you and even though you know you can go at higher speed but you limit yourself as your buggy is not meant for that. Nevertheless, at the end of the day you have to hold onto yourself for your team, for everyone’s dream and get as much points as you can from all events and bring your car safely to the pits.
PRATIK MOHANTY: I had forgotten to ask. You had an injury “scarce” once? How serious it was? And how it affected your football and BAJA team?
Ans: It was a knee injury, though not that serious. It affected my football career but never BAJA team. I had become mentally upset because I knew my football career here at VSSUT had come to an end. But my injury never came in between me and my BAJA career. Even while driving I was not fully fit, but I never had a second thought while driving.
PRATIK MOHANTY: We are not saying but popular belief is that “Yes, Preetam Baag, is very talented but not at all career oriented”. Your take on this?
Ans: No, am not talented. And it’s a fact- Everyone has some principles and motives. Never think you are talented, instead learn as much as you can. The day you think you are talented enough, you develop in yourself “ego” which later on becomes a reason of your fall. Everyone has talent inside them; it depends upon the individual how fast they develop. This is something I believe- “Knowledge is best used when shared and legacy is best maintained when continued”.
Coming to career, – Marks never stand as a sole witness to your career; this is what my parents have taught me. It is rather what you want to be and how successful you are in that. I wish to be an entrepreneur and for that I don’t need good marks but I need other things. I joined VSSUT to develop those skills in me rather than to just run behind marks. Be a leader such that you stand tall in a huge crowd. Dream things that can be achieved, that are much different than what exists.
PRATIK MOHANTY: The BAJA team of our varsity wasn’t able to qualify for the main SAE competition. As a captain, how disappointed where you and how did you manage to motivate your team for the subsidiary event?
Ans: We are a team; we knew it wasn’t our fault. Baja SAE gave way to all new teams, this is done once in 3-4 years. If this policy was not used, we could have never cleared the virtuals for the first time. Yes we were the unlucky batch, I can say. All were upset, we held team meetings, we discussed of how to improve our design. As they say, time heals everything. My juniors are great and I feel lucky to have all of them in my team. I believe we will come stronger this time and go out,win both the national and international competition. I hope the university will support us more and am thankful to the support they have given us till date. We have already started working on our design and as you all know we have cleared the rule quiz of national event. Upcoming challenge is the international event.
PRATIK MOHANTY: This is a sensitive topic. In the earlier BAJA teams there used to be very minimalistic representation. Though the trend is fading and it’s encouraging, can you tell us a bit of what remains the lagging factor for girls?
Ans: I have tried my best to support girls for BAJA team. They have their roles. One has to agree they are not technically sound but last year the girls did much to learn most of things. It’s not like fading away but you have to agree to the fact that the participation of girls is too less. Girls are known for their presentation skills. For this reason, we kept them in presenting role. This year there are more girls than last year. I hope the ratio will change soon. Girls must open up. BAJA is something where we demand dedication. If they can use the 75% attendance wisely, they can be of great help.
PRATIK MOHANTY: The “workshop”. It’s old and dying. Yet it has been your “r&d” zone for some time now. Throw some light onto this.
Ans: Actual “r&d” zone has been Sambalpur lathe shop. This time they allowed us to use the machine shop. It’s true we make our vehicle in the workshop but that holds good only for welding shop. I hope they will allow us to use every facility from this time. No doubts machines are old but work can be done out of that but we expect the university to come up with better facilities. Nevertheless, making a vehicle out of nothing is the true challenge.
PRATIK MOHANTY: Tell us a bit of being “self sustaining” student. How the world looks at you and how “positively” different you look at them?
Ans: Life has been difficult, you all know that. Most of the time without power supply, without meals, without water but that all can be adjusted with time. There are many differences between self sustaining and hostelites but at the end of day, we all are the students of VSSUT.I can say undoubtedly, if you sustain these 4 years, you become so strong that you can sustain at almost all places.
PRATIK MOHANTY: You say you want to be entrepreneur. Have you sorted it out by now? Share with us your dream.
Ans: Yes, I want to be an electric cycle manufacturer. Price will be very low so that it will be affordable to all. Documentation and office building process is on work. May be after a year, we will have the manufacturing unit. Let it be this much. I believe in making things happen rather than just speaking. I hope I can give good news to you all very soon.
PRATIK MOHANTY: A few words for team ViSSion and message to your juniors.
Ans: Team ViSSion- a great initiative, was really impressed by your work. I am aware of the umpteen difficulties you all faced and still you could launch it successfully. Updates are important and it will help all other club activities for their marketing. On behalf of all clubs, we are thankful to team Vission for their efforts. I hope this to continue forever with upgraded versions.
Words for juniors- Engineering is not about getting marks but exploring minds. An application of everything is important. In these 4 years, do something new, be part of some club you are interested in and make others proud of you. Leave your footprints in the history of VSSUT. Remember, “Some people just dream of success, others wake up and live for it”.
PRATIK MOHANTY: It was a pleasure interviewing you Mr. Preetam Baag. Personally speaking, you have always been the “ideal” idol to follow. The real true blue visionary. Team ViSSion wishes you luck for the future.