Humans of KGP
Samarth Mahajan (Dual Degree, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2009 -2014, Director and Producer, The Borderlands)
From being a typical JEE aspirant to being a typical ‘job-material’ IITian. This summarizes my first three and a half years in Kharagpur. Luckily, while being a dual degree student, I got a PPO from one of the most sought-after employers in my 4th year. As Baldev Singh tells Simran in DDLJ, I told my heart, “Ja jee le apni zindagi”.
And so, I went on the Jagriti Yatra, a 14-day train journey around India. For the first time, I noticed non-IITians and non-engineers, working on nation-building with the kind of passion I could only dream of being infected with. KGP gave me the space to explore my other self — from watching films to making films during Ad Design.
I had an inkling deep down that I might not like my job, but I wanted to try it out. I wanted to live the money-eyed dreams seeded in a small-town background. Just 9 months and I was done. I wanted to make films! I decided to shift to Mumbai after a call with Akshat, a KGP senior who happily offered me a roof.
While I was looking for odd jobs in production houses, I got a Facebook notification from Ashay, another KGPian, inviting me to like his page Camera and Shorts, a film collective. We met up in his house, and within an hour, we knew we were working together. We chugged some beer to mark our collaboration.
Looking back, I now realize that it was KGP which gave my inner child a safe space, invaluable friendships, and a feeling that if I make the leap of faith I will find fellow KGPians who are already flying. As the saying goes since antiquity, “You can take a KGPian out of KGP, but you cannot take KGP out of a KGPian.”
[POSTCRIPT: Samarth now lives in Mumbai and is a full-time filmmaker. Self-taught in the art, he loves to tell stories that highlight invisible narratives. “The Unreserved”, his debut feature documentary, is a national award-winning film about conversations during a 17-day pan-India train journey in general compartments. It was recently screened on campus for first-year students and received a standing ovation. Samarth is currently crowdfunding for “The Borderlands”, a documentary about capturing the human side of life in the Indian borderlands. His campaign is the largest ever on Wishberry, with 535 backers chipping in to help him raise INR 27 lacs in 40 days.]