Rajappa Kaimal completed his MS in IIT Madras from the Applied Mechanics department in 1981. He was the founder of the Sarabhai Institute of Science&Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.
The three semesters that I spent at IIT Chennai during 1980-81 was a golden period of my life. I was a sponsored candidate from VSSC/ISRO for doing my M.S studies (B.Tech from Karnataka Regional Engineering College) at IIT Madras. I was selected as a candidate in the Applied Mechanical Dept. in Aero Building. My mind and heart were full of dreams and joy as my wedding was also to be solemnized by 1981 while doing my M.S study. I was dreamed of maintaining a family along with my studies, assignments and projects. The surrounding campus with a canopy of greenery, the thick banyan trees with its aerial prop roots extending as swings for young couple, the intermittent upshot of palm trees etc. gave me a good back up for spending the honeymoon days. On other side of my mind was the burning heat of studies which included the assignments, tests and surprise test etc. which sliced and sized my sweet dreams. Even I remember my Tribology professor’s warning that ‘ you can neither study nor lead a married life during the study period, better you postpone your marriage plan accordingly’. I replied him in a positive way telling that I will carry out both and win simultaneously. I remember still that he kept an open book test also just the previous day of my marriage which caused me to be late even on that ceremonious day!
I continued my studies bringing my wife to the campus and stayed at Tharamani Guest House. I acted in a double role film one with my newly wedded partner taking her for evening walk, outside eateries etc and late night in my studies. Campus was enriching her with more and more colorful life, journeys and enjoyments in and around the campus while my inner mind was full of the swelling of the swallowed cursing words of my professor. I prayed in my mind for an apt solution for the puzzle of studies in which I was fully embedded.
Every evening I use to take a walk through the campus area with full of thoughts and even use to hug on the aerial prop roots of banyan trees with a relaxed mind in the evergreen paradise on the earth. Lots of deer and monkeys added up the attraction to stick on to the nature gifted campus. But the days were vanishing soon and the final exams were nearing in April-May. I scored very good grades of A and A+(between 90 to 100) in almost all my subjects and by that time I became the father of my first son too. Thus I kept my promise to my professor that I will win both simultaneously, and completed my thesis with in a year. Even after 34 years, the campus with its greenery swings in my mind, and those old golden days can never be rubbed away from my heart. Probably the study in such a gifted campus would have inspired me to take the leadership for getting a similar, scenic & lush green environment to start up an engineering college named after the pioneer of Space Science and Technology- The Sarabhai Institute of Science&Technology, 20 km. away in a robust village in Thiruvananthapuram. This gives me a scaled model of IIT Campus where I am serving as the Director since 8 years.I can never forget my days there with and without my family.