Memoirs of team 0767
Sangchu and Tshewang Rinchen [be2e]
A Solar car racing was held on our college campus on 20th August, 2008. The winners of this competition were sent to observe ABU-Asia-Pacific Robocon 2008 at Pune, India. This is the first time our country got a chance to observe this unique contest which is being held every year since 2002. This is brief narration, how we got an opportunity to represent our college and country as well. I, Sangchu and Bajay jumped out of joy and hugged each other as our car 0767 outpaced other car and plied its wheel over the finishing line. It was an hour later Jadoo also realised that we really won the car race and he started jumping and shouting. And we reminded him that celebration is over and get ready for our trip to Pune.
We left the college on 25th of August in the afternoon to catch the train from Hashimara which leaves in the evening. It was our first long distance journey in the train. We boarded the train at 5:20 pm, headed towards Kolkata. Hashimara to Sealdah railway station by train is 703kms. During the night, fearing of our things being stolen, we all prepared to guard our belongings dearly. We tied our luggage to our seats and locked them. However we had a problem with bags. Bajay was carrying two bags and he slept with one bag as pillow and other one hugged to his heart like a lioness protecting her cubs. We took turn staying awake guarding our belongings. When Jadoo’s shift came around 2am, he landed up staying awake the whole night since Billah refused to do his turn at 4am.These precautions were taken since we heard lots of unpleasant stories about passengers being rid of their belongings in the train.
Our journey to Pune was in another train which leaves from Howrah station. Since our train leaves in night we went to visit some of the important historical sites in Kolkata. We hired an ambassador car and visited Science city, Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium, boarded Metro to visit nearby towns. At 10:05pm we boarded Azad Hind Express and began our 2222km journey towards Pune. We crossed the state of West Bengal and entered Orissa the following day. As the journey took us towards the south-east, we entered state of Maharasthra. I went to buy few loaves of bread for my lunch from the shop at station and Billah told me to bring few dozens of Tiger biscuit for him. I was irritated and I didn’t buy either. I fasted for one whole day. We passed Nagpur early in the morning and reached the city of Pune (Pune railway station) on 28th August at 10:30am. With our luggage and our guide Mr. M.Kano, we headed for our hotel (Sapna) in the hub of Pune city. On 29th August, we went to MIT (Maharasthra Institute of Technology) to register and see the campus. MIT in collaboration with Doordarshan (DD) is hosting this year’s ABU Asia-Pacific Robot contest. And as of 29th August most of the teams have arrived. A total of 17 teams from 16 different countries were participating including team from Egypt and Japan. The D-day was on 31st August. On that day we all went to MIT campus at 8:00am and got seated in the gallery to witness and observe the competition among motley group of audiences from participating countries. Chinese team were the champion followed by Egypt in the second place. The closing ceremony took place around 6:30 pm and we returned to our hotel with hopes sprouting, exposures gained, grit and determinations flowered in our minds. We felt ourselves blessed to be the first Bhutanese student ambassador to enter the hall of ABU-Robocon. On the contrary, it was extremely sad to see there was no participation from our country. All of us were lost in deep and murky thoughts about the extra miles our counterparts have walked ahead of us. However, we want to exhort our fellow under graduate students to grab the opportunity to compete. The organisers always welcome the new nations to join.
On 1st September we went to Yashada Hall where friendship exchange programme was held. We interacted with participants and enquired about their triumphs and efforts. We took lunch together and there was a photo session for almost an hour. After lunch we went visit Aga Khan’s palace and shopping in the M.G road. The whole programme was sponsored by ABU, DD in collaboration with MIT staffs and students. We were decorated as student ambassador of Bhutan to Robocon. There happen to be a joke shared amongst us in the train. It was on the last night of our tour and we were about to have dinner when Bajay remarked “da ven ambassador bonku theun do mae (now ambassadors are in great trouble, since all of us were running short of pocket money)”. And to add fuel to fire the cost of dinner was astronomical.
On 2nd September we started our three days journey back to our country. To us we feel that identity of Bhutan is still missing in such events. In open question-answer session, we asked a question to team China regarding their tricks of trade, revealing that we are from Royal Kingdom of Bhutan. Everybody in the hall cocked their eyebrows and ears in astonishing manner and stared at us just to wonder where we are from. It is therefore, our responsibility to show where we are and what we are for, through innovations and creations. It is not the technology which led china to retain their champion’s position. Japan, India, Thailand, and the rest have advanced technology at par with China but it was simply a unique and creative idea which made the Chinese to win.