March 2, 2011
Last weekend, six students from IIT, Kharagpur (the engineering college I earned my undergraduate degree from in India) came to Denver. They are third and fourth year students from the mining department. Over the weekend they worked on one of the top challenging problems in the field and were placed third, globally. Very impressive!
Yesterday morning, I took time off work and golf to take them to the Rocky Mountains. The plan was to pick them up at 6 am, so that we could beat the downtown traffic. I called a little early and made sure that they were awake so I felt especially bad when I underestimated the early morning traffic and was there at the hotel lobby at 6:05.
When I reached the hotel lobby, no one was there. At 6:20 when I finally reached of the students in the group, he apologized for the delay and said that they would be down in five minutes. I have to confess, I was getting very irritated by this apparent inconsideration on their part. I sat in the car and listened to A.R. Rahman songs from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Finally at 6:45 am one of the students was down in the lobby. He explained the delay: one of the students in the group could not find his shoes. At this point I was more amused than upset.
Finally at 7:00 am we left the hotel, an hour later than planned. Although I was not happy about it, as the day progressed and I got to learn about their individual lives and their passions in India, I felt fortunate to be in their company. I started thinking back to the days when I was their age. It would not be easy to wake up at 6:00 am just to meet with someone more than twice my age.
I am not supporting their failure to keep a commitment, but what I learned was that life does not always have to be planned. There are times one can simply pause and enjoy the time with their friends who are around. In their case, I experienced them breaking out into an unplanned snow ball fight in the Rocky Mountain National parks.
I am glad I was there to capture their first snowball fight on my camera.