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This Republic Day, Professor Kavita Vemuri came up with an unusual idea of cleaning our classroom desks. Here we have an account of the experience of a skeptical student who was initial cynical of what it could be, and how the student ended up enjoying every bit of it.

On a 26th January celebration, one can go to iterate over all engineering colleges and find nothing different. A skit devoted to a great independence struggle, a patriotic song competition and probably a poster-making competition. If someone wants to bring some changes in the mundane format of skit, the script would be now, on how we take our country for granted. All in all, lethargy overpowers our sense of nationalism and sadly it happens thrice every single year—26th January, 15th August and 2nd October.

So when this time we received an e-mail, very suspiciously titled ‘FUN EVENT ON REPUBLIC DAY’, I became curious. I read the mail in hopes of finding witty and caustic sarcasm in it but I found something else. That “something” was an attempt to be different. That different event was of the cleaning of all graffiti from our classrooms. It is no state secret that our desks have increasingly come to resemble billboards from the 80s. No one can deny that anything and everything from rough work of assignments to ballads over lost love, to unrestrained use of expletives to our standard Indian graffiti template ‘sonu loves monu’ can be found on a classroom desk. Hence the activity was somewhat imperative and necessary. So I signed up!

I hadn’t expected a great turnout but was surprised to find myself in elite company of professors and students. Some were there out of curiosity, some determined to purify our classrooms of filth, some to find new material to incorporate in their repertoire of puns and some because being a first year they didn’t really have a choice. But the bigger picture was that people were actually present and enjoying there. The next few hours were spent running from room to room, furious scrubbing of desks, discussing how to optimize our algorithm to result in cleaner tables in faster time , looking at our mighty professors trying to outdo each other at cleaning and a lot more. Finally with our sweat and tears mixed with generous amounts of thinner fluid, we completed our task.

Looking back to that day, I do think it was a fun event and more than fun it was thought-provoking. I am sure all those who were present that day would agree with me on the same. It was something constructive. Something which an ideal Republic Day should be composed of.

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