ORU CAPTAININ KADHAI


SOME PEOPLE SOME EXPERIENCES CHANGE YOU INSIDE OUT

This has been the quote of my life. I have related to this quote more than anything, because I have been through a lot, that had changed me as a person on the whole. While being an introverted, tongue-tied boy in the school, certain incidents taught me how the world works, the “real world”. Eventually, as years passed, I made up to the college, the place where we all pop in as a person and depart as an entirely different one. A lot happens in that span of four years, few bad and many good memories. Luckily, I have the taste of both combined in one and this is a glimpse of something great in my life.

I assume that you all would have heard about a group of guys, who hardly attend the classes and spend most of their time in a greasy, grumpy, deafening garage claiming to build a race car or something? Yes, I am sure you would have. Well, I am one of those savages. I have been a part of this amazing team- Velocita Racing. Man! Every time I hear that word, a lifetime of memories flash before my eyes. Memories of the best journey in my life.

Two years being a part of the team, gave me everything that I imagined to have, when I joined the team and a lot more. I was not a good fresher in the team, as I didn’t find the catch at the design phase. Well, blame me. Not knowing much about what was going on in the fabrication phase, I was curious about finding answers. That’s when my seniors’ stories and technical debate became my textbook. Every evening before we hit the garage, we head out to have tea in a usual place, the Aavin tea stall, which was our version of a board meeting, where we would discuss the plan of action for the next 10-15 hours. Aavin tea stall was the “Bodhi tree” where I got some wisdom imparted to my stone head by listening to their conversations accompanied by hot spicy vada and tea. The tea was our energy drink, without which no discussion would have ever moved into our project. Every decision and every single problem were solved over a cup of tea!!

Though it was not all technical, at least I was good at assisting the team physically. Memory of trying to catch hold of the huge, hand grinding machine for the first time in the garage, is still as fresh as that day. As the car was built, I learned much through the process stage by stage, from drawing a line to making a perfect weldment. The things you assimilate have to be taken to your grave, because Woah!!Those are ineffable experiences.

When it comes to venturing into a project like building an electric vehicle, meeting deadlines was something important but that had never happened with us. Nevertheless, it was great watching my seniors handle even those situations without stressing much over it and that, somehow, got us to complete the tasks, just in time. They made sure that no compromise was done with the car, no matter what. And when I say no matter what, it’s to that extent that, even if a person cuts himself accidentally and puts on 8 stitches on his belly in the morning, he will be present in the garage the next evening, mounting the differential mount. Such commitment to this project, made them something more than just seniors for us. More like a Family.

Alas, after countless sleep-deprived nights, cups of tea, cuts, and bruises, there was Velocita 2.0, standing on its four wheels, ready to roll on the day of the competition. The start of the competition was pretty good, but then, on the final day, things started to go south and we were restrained from advancing any further with the competition. Watching the official shake his head and deny our claims, deeply did hurt me. I sat in front of the car and wept like a baby. It was back then that made me realize that, how much ever we work for something, certain things aren’t in our hands. Getting over that trauma was difficult, but I managed. We settled our car back in the garage and we were discussing where did things go wrong. It was at that moment I realized that something big was coming my way already.

Cutting there, things happened swiftly, and there I was, in the CAD lab, with my best guys, planning for the next car, hoping to have a better conclusion this time. Leading a team and taking up responsibility, have not been my thing, to be frank. Like I said, this was it that changed me. Taking charge of things happening with the car, made me take charge of my life in a way. Looking forward from that point, it was the start of everything happening again, DEJAVU!!

The late-night stays, more injuries, and finding the short power naps on the filthy floors and rolling chairs. Thanks to “Refresh-Tear drops” for saving my eyes from all the heat and welding gas. It was always “Burnol”&“Savlon”, the saviors from all the burns and bruises. Talking about late-night stays, it extends till 4 A.M in the morning without a break. There was one such night, when we went for another dose of energy drink at 3 am in the morning. We somehow awoke the tea master and made him turn on the radio for a musical chai time. Meanwhile, a patrol vehicle that was passing by called up the master and blasted him for having the shop unbarred at that time. We almost cost that poor man his business but fortunately it didn’t get serious. Night stays also include waking up our poor securities at the gates, in an ungodly hour to open the gates for us, the idiots. At one point they got used to our schedule and started asking about the progress of the project. Hours of roasting, songs, sometimes dancing, 15 of us sharing one stack of parotta for the night snack, got us through the overnight work. The late-night drives, back home, with absolutely no one on the Avinashi road, enjoying the music, is something that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Every day in Velocita was a challenge. Every day a new issue arises and sometimes it can even disrupt your entire day of work and put a halt to the project. Pulling forward after a setback was a joint effort. The whole team had to work past the struggle and when things started to fall in the right place, there I was, standing like Shah Jahan beholding his Taj Mahal, become a wonder. The first time I heard the beep from the car, the first hum, the first screeching of the tires on the tar, was a pure feeling. A feeling of achievement, something worth all the struggles. After that, the car was all set and we had left to Delhi for the competition which was to be held in India’s only F1 circuit- Buddh International.

The first visit to that majestic circuit and imagining our car driving through the straights and out of the corner was all that I dreamt of, right from the first line sketched in Solidworks, during the design phase. But I don’t know if it was a curse or if I was not in the right place, our competition came to an early stop. At that point, I felt an all-time lowness and that made me regret my decisions. I felt that I had led my whole team to a dead end. But this time it was different. There were no tears! I felt I had a bigger responsibility to check on my team and make sure they were okay. It was a big hit but this will go past too. Getting past the unfortunate events, we packed our car components and sent it back to Coimbatore with a heavy heart along. Then we set out to explore the national capital. Funny how it’s easy to put things behind us, when we are around the right crowd. After the 10-day expedition with a disappointing result, we came back to our base, bidding farewell to my journey with Velocita. It was the time for me to heartfully accept the pride in passing on the baton to the lineage to carry forward the legacy. I have not thanked my team enough, but every single one of them had played their roles in it. Jayesh, Manhar, Thalapathy, Balu, Chicken, Prashuk, Arul, Koushi, Rosappa, Vishal, Uma, and my juniors. Without them, the whole project would have been just a mirage. Everybody sweated for months, to finish what we started. They were supportive and had never let me down whenever I gave up. All the hours spent with them were worth it and I hope I didn't let them down too.

Everything till now was just a glimpse of all the events that had happened to me, but you might wonder what was life-changing about this. Dho Varen! The first most valuable thing Velocita Racing got me is the “best people” in and out of Velocita. My seniors took care of me at desperate my times, when I was in the middle of the road. It is important to have that senior-junior relationship they said, but they are more like, my brothers, who help me through different parts of my life, even as I am writing this article. Ashwin, Arun, Gowtham, Aravindhan, Hashwant, Karthiban, Palani, Selva, Veera, Manimaran, Kishore, and many more. Every single one of them had a uniqueness in them that made this possible. Same goes with my juniors, for they all are multi-talented. Kutti Balaji, Hank, Raja, Siddu, Yashwantha, Gnana, Sudee, Vignesha, each person made a difference. Not once have they treated me as a senior though XD. Velocita gave me a lot of people who mean a lot to me. It established a strong bond between us. Velocita made me do everything, that I thought I cannot do and pushed me to do a little more, out of my comfort zone. Life lessons, multitasking, being responsible & flexibility are a few, if not being too cliché.

No matter, how much ever hard work you put into what you do, some things are not in your hands. But it’s okay if things go south. What matters more is, what you learn from it. Trust the process! It’s important to find the balance and move on, because there is more to come. Velocita Racing gave me my identity and a new path, for which I am forever grateful and I will take this pride along with me all my life. Try it out and you will love the experience.

Hail Velocita !

Article by

Arun Sundar

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