Alma MatTers (Season 1)
I am an engineer by profession and engineering for me has that certain level of nostalgia associated with it. It is usually a 4 year course that teaches you so many aspects of life that goes way beyond the normal staple course. It teaches you to handle pressure and provide solutions on the go without trying to beat about the bush. And as you also make friends in those 4 years that usually last a lifetime. So when I heard about the new Documentary Series Alma Matters releasing on Netflix which is based on the lives of a few students from IIT Kharagpur, naturally I was excited. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.
When it comes to the IITs of the country, the first thing that pops up in your mind is that it usually contains the cream of the crowd who get placed at exorbitant packages. And so the parents always push their kids in that direction. But the reality is a lot different. Alma Matters gives you a sneak peek into the lives of a few IIT students. And so this 3 part series is divided into chapters to begin with. This portrayal of the students of IITs is far from the ones you will see in a Bollywood movie. The portrayal is raw and also underlines some of the harsh realities that don’t paint a rosy picture.
It is shown that the initial batches of the IITs were small and so the teacher to students ratio was low. With the number of students increasing, the ratio has widened that doesn’t allow personalised atrention to all students which is reality 1. The subsequent chapters focus on the girls to boys ratio and how patriarchy is prevalent also on the campuses. Out of the 3 parts, I really enjoyed the 2nd part that dealt with the pressure of handling interviews. If you are from an IIT, you are invariably expected to get placed in a good company with a high package. But the reality is different. The news that trickles out is usually restricted to just one or two placements and does not apply to everyone. And so here you witness the high pressure days that took me back to my engineering days where there was a mad rush either for interviews or filling forms for further studies. It just saps all your energy and confidence if you are rejected(and when you see others getting placed) and that is the harsh reality number 2. The third part is a part of two halves, one involving celebration and the other involving suicide. That is reality number 3 though the suicide element could have been further explored.
While Engineering does evoke a sense of nostalgia, it is also a line that is fast becoming saturated. Many who do not wish to pursue this field or are looking for specific streams do not get that probably due to the sad state of the system that we live in. And as it turns out, many succumb to the pressure sadly. Engineering for me were probably the best days of my life. It taught me so many life lessons and how to make my way out of a few obstacles. One thing that engineering also teaches you is, what not to do in life. And there have also made a few friends that are probably friends for life, one of them, Harsh, is also a part of the popcornreviewss family. These are the days to be enjoyed while studying because life hasn’t started back then and a big bad world awaits you at the end of the four years. Indeed the best days of my life that ain’t coming back.
Alma Matters successfully gives you a sneak peek into the high pressure lives of IIT students of Kharagpur. This is a pretty good documentary that deserves to be watched especially by parents. Available on Netflix.