I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.Douglas Adams
We can finally present the August 2022 issue of , which comes after over a year (the longest gap between any two consecutive magazines in five years, as people didn’t fail to point out). As a side effect, though, the creation of this issue has seen several key events in campus life, not least of which is the famed, almost legendary, PostPandemic Return. And, of course, the upheavals that followed close on its heels – quarantine, the shift to inperson teaching, and the first offline Felicity (and Buzz) in three years.
Over the last couple of years, we have all seen the world around us evolve – be it the campus, the functioning of the institution, and even Ping! as a student body. The alternating cycle of buzzing activity and mindnumbing indolence, as it affects everything on campus, has affected Ping! too, but we hope that we are now facing the upward slope and that we continue to do so for the coming semesters. As much as college life has oscillated in the past year, Ping! has had its share of landmarks, most noteworthy among which are our first longterm sponsorship and considerable growth in our team size (soon followed, however, by an even more significant pruning). However, misfortunes had their place, as evinced by the radio silence Ping! maintained for nearly five months, from the first signs of campus reopening until the third wave’s effect on campus.
The long hiatus has not affected the multifacetedness which forms the crux of the magazine. Again, this issue has chosen themes devoid of any mention of the pandemic or its effects. Instead, articles like “So Said UG1F” (a piece about confessions), “Beep! Beep! Beep!” (a part of the Eye to the Future column about a potential future on Mars), and “Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?” (a review of the sitcom IT Crowd) showcase the essence of Ping! – creativity and variety in themes. These compositions cover the entire spectrum of fictional possibilities. The confessions feature talks about potentially fictional occurrences on the campus, the IT crowd article is a review about a fictional workplace, and the Eye to the Future story takes the readers to an entirely new realm of fictitious possibilities.
Meanwhile, a piece relating to one of our recent sponsors, DaveAI, shows the reader new possibilities using AI, not very far in the future, which the company aims to provide to businesses. Another article – one of the most relevant to the social life of our generation – throws light on the relationship between the music and social media industries, which turns out to be more intricate than one might suspect. We also cover a crucial collaboration between the institute and the government of India, which aims to enhance our military prowess through technology. It is not feasible, however, to encapsulate all that happened in the past year (to the institute and to Ping!) via just these articles, so in the following section, we attempt to recap these events.
The publication of the last issue, fifteen months ago, happened in the midst of a time when we, as a student organisation, were struggling to remain active. We had not, as a group, taken to the online environment of working, even after two semesters. Since the beginning of the indefinite suspension of inclass teaching, a lethargy had settled over the team that continued to be as hard to dispel as ever. At the time of publication, there was still no hint of the pandemic letting up for long enough for the campus to open, and the second wave was in full swing.
Work on the next issue commenced immediately, but was soon followed by the recall of UG2 ECE and ECD students on campus in September. This, as we were to find out later, heralded the longest hibernation in Ping!’s recent history. The curious situation in which the latest residents of campus found themselves, while at first fodder for article ideas, did not easily lend itself to any work beyond academics. Exploring campus, spending time with friends, and getting habituated to hostel life, understandably, pushed well nigh all other concerns to the backburner.
The college seemed to be in a similar state of interlull with there being no in-campus activities, even with students present on campus. There were restrictions, quarantines, and curfews, something which the institute had never seen before. Motivations were at an all-time low, owing to the fact that there were no meaningful connections that could be formed between the students on campus and the ones at home. Very few students were allowed back to the campus before the allotted slots, partially because of the ineptitude of the college administration. There were extremely crazy quarantine rules. However, things looked to be taking a turn for the better with the announcement of a potentially offline Spring 2022 semester.
The first three months of the semester brought a number of firsts to IIIT – some weirder than others. Life was, at the same time, on campus and not on campus. Some of these were more desirable than others: possibly foremost among these were the attendance policy being kept in abeyance, and the (short-lived) popularity of online tests. Professors were accommodating and lenient in the matter of deadlines, given how many people were falling sick on a regular basis. But the situation did not bring only blessings – curfew was enforced (which, although no one realised it at the time, was setting a precedent); deliveries were dropped in Nilgiri to be collected later; there were time restrictions on ordering food, deliveries could not be brought up till the hostels but had to be collected at the main gate; and so on. This, in addition to the regular testing and the absolute mayhem that was contact tracing, made campus life unrecognisable to those who had known it in its pre-COVID form.
The havoc that the virus wreaked extended to Ping! as well, unlike the few favours it conferred upon campus life. The utter pandemonium that held sway over the college worsened the already hectic life of students in IIIT. Keeping up with the constant quarantining, tracking which of one’s acquaintances had “exhibited symptoms”, and the ever-changing rules regarding congregations of students led to an inertia that manifested in a continued hiatus until Felicity.
But we cannot forget the greatest loss to Ping! and to the student community in the last year – the untimely and unfortunate demise of our friend Arjun. Around the time everyone was returning to campus, he tested positive for COVID19 while in QIF and was later diagnosed with a case of severe COVID pneumonia. It was uplifting to see the IIIT community come together to help him with blood donations and contributions to the fundraiser for his treatment. He and his family fought a long battle for two months, but we, unfortunately, lost him towards the end of February 2022. Besides being an important part of the student community, his talent and the remarkable contributions he has made to Ping! and the institute are worth mentioning. We wish to remember him for years to come – starting with this issue with designs inspired by his work.
The end-term examinations, however, brought the campus closer to normalcy than it had been in the past two years – offline evaluations quickly brought everyone back to the realities of an in-person semester. The difficulties of offline exams were alleviated by the returned vibrancy on campus, with people finally able to hang out with their friends, make impromptu trips to DLF or Sarath City, and (most importantly) do Ping! work. Work on the magazine was resumed, and the team decided upon some future plans. And if you’re still reading at this point, thank you for your patience – not only in reading this editorial, but in waiting for the issue – and for giving us a reason to do what we do.
Editors-in-Chief: Abhinav S Menon, Tejasvi Chebrolu, Pahulpreet Singh
Cover and compilation: Ananya and Pratyay