Visit to UPES, Dehradun (Nov 21st, 2017)
Recently, I had the opportunity of visiting UPES (University of Petroleum and Energy Studies) located at Bidholi, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India. Interestingly, I must admit my ignorance about not being aware of the existence of UPES, till my good friend Promod Painuly, told me the week before that he had joined there as a faculty member. Promod also invited me to give a talk at their College of Engineering Studies, which I accepted.
On the morning of Nov 21st, 2017, I was picked up in a cab by two students from UPES, smartly clad in their bluish coloured suits (dress code). It was a comfortable ride, and as we got closer to the University, the campus blocks as well as some hostel blocks for boys and girls became visible, which are all situated in the beautiful backdrop of hills covered with trees and lot of other greenery. The cab ride took about 45 minutes to reach the Energy Block, where I was greeted in a traditional Hindu style, what with a student putting ‘tilak’ on my forehead and putting a saffron cloth on my shoulder. I believe the application of tilak on the forehead in my situation was symbolic of the warmth and honour, which I appreciated very much.
Thereafter, I met some faculty members and students from the Energy Studies Division, as we all got seated in a bright and a spacious room, and were served coffee with some biscuits. We were then joined by Dr. D. K. Gupta, Professor and Head, College of Engineering Studies, and was escorted to his office. Dr. Gupta apprised me about UPES and the College of Engineering Studies, and how it had emerged as one of the premier educational institutions in India. The UPES students have competed in many quiz competitions, nationally and internationally, and won honours. The awarded plaques and mementoes are proudly decorated in Dr. Gupta’s office. Such accolades are suggestive of the high levels of the focused and dedicated training imparted to the students, and thus Dr. Gupta and his faculty members have every reason to be proud of all that.
From there, we went to the lecture hall, where I was supposed to deliver my talk. I was quite surprised to see the arrangement for lighting the lamp there, another symbolic honour for me. Light is a symbol of truth, knowledge and understanding, and thus lighting a lamp at the kickoff of a Conference, or an educational event is symbolic of an auspicious beginning with the guiding light. This was a new experience for me as I had only seen ministers and senior officials lighting the lamp, and had witnessed one at the recently concluded 2017 SPG (Society of Petroleum Geophysicists, India) at Jaipur the previous week. Thereafter, I delivered my talk, which went on for over an hour followed by questions and answers. The student had some interesting and searching questions, which was reaffirming that they were following what I was talking about. At the completion of all this, I was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a souvenir, which added to the honours I was being bestowed with.
Over with the talk, next there was an arrangement for lunch at a place a few blocks away. Very amusingly for me, a golf cart kind of a buggy was ready to give us a ride there. Very good Indian food, well up to my liking and followed by dessert (gajjar halwa), was served by some attentive and professional bearers, all of which I relished very much.
Post lunch, we got the buggy ride back to the College of Engineering Studies Block, wherefrom a warm sendoff was given to me.
I again enjoyed driving through the picturesque landscape and at times tunneling through the tall trees on both sides. Overall, I was very impressed with my visit to the UPES. The excellent arrangements for everything and my brief interaction with students deserve my sincere appreciation. It was such thoughts that I was overwhelmed with, while the cab motored its way back to the location I was picked up in the morning.
It was a very satisfying and enjoyable visit to UPES, and I hope there will be more such visits in the future. I have appended some photos from this visit, very graciously shared by Ms. Shradha Sood, College of Engineering Studies, UPES.