The Cartoon King: Kushal Tibrewal
On a lazy Sunday afternoon at hex, MM caught up with Kushal Tibrewal, a final year dual degree student of the Department of Mining Engineering. Considered a God among cartoonists, he incepted the cartoon team of MM, which he considers a true passion of his. Read on to find out more about the man with a laid back attitude but a brilliant mind.
MM: Tell us about your life before joining NITR.
KT: I was born and brought up in Cuttuck. I did my matriculation from DPS Kalinga and then my +2 from Sai International School, Bhubaneswar, where they were offering an integrated course for AIEEE and IITJEE. I had secured good marks in class 10 and everyone advised me to take up science and then engineering. I screwed up my IITJEE and thus landed up here.
MM: Why did you opt for a dual degree in Mining Engineering instead of other courses in other branches?
KT: I knew a senior who had graduated from mining the previous year who said that there is a lot of scope in this field. I am from a Marwari family where everyone has done B. Com and are handling businesses and I am the first member to be studying engineering and this guy was the only person who could guide me on this matter. Thus, taking his advice, I decided to study Mining Engineering.
I chose dual degree over B.Tech as a lot of teachers said that dual degrees are also there in the IITs and because of the fact that you get to save a year.
MM: Yours is the second batch of dual degree students. How has the prospect of dual degree changed over the years?
KT: IITs and NITs have introduced a dual degree course but the companies are yet to know about it. They think it is a risk to recruit these students as they feel that neither has he done his B.Tech properly nor has he done a proper M.Tech and is in fact stuck in the middle. We can’t go for the R&D of the company and are overqualified for the managerial training post. So, initially they were reluctant to take dual degree students. But this year, the placement coordinators have done an excellent job in making the companies understand what dual degree students actually are and this time, most of them have allowed dual degree students to sit for their interviews and we have in fact performed better than B. Tech students.
MM: You were the first member of Monday Morning to introduce the cartoon section. How did it strike you and what changes have been made since then?
KT: The thing that I would miss the most would be working for Monday Morning. It is something that totally changed me because when I was first came here, I wondered how I would make a mark among 4000 students and get people to know me. There was this constant quest inside me to do something different and so when I heard about Monday Morning, and even though I wasn’t good at writing nor was I technically sound, I wanted to be a part of it. In the written round, I had applied to be part of the technical team, whose job was to upload the site, and got through the written round. For the 2nd round tasks, I learnt Joomla, on which the site was based back then and developed a website. But on the day of the Personal Interview, the site didn’t work. The technical coordinator was disappointed and furious. That is when I told them about my idea of introducing a cartoon section in Monday Morning. The only thing that I was good at was cartooning, and since a kid, I used to make cartoon strips. Initially, they were apprehensive of the idea. But then after some thought and discussion, I was appointed as the only cartoonist of my batch.
With the introduction of the cartoon section, people expected it to be humorous but we struggled with the content part, especially as I was the sole cartoonist. But 3 Chief Coordinators and I sat together to discuss about it every week and tried to keep the cartoons as regular as possible. Being a new concept, it was appreciated widely. There were a few controversial cartoons and there used to be a lot of discussions in the comment section of the site regarding them. I was also the first to introduce doodles in Monday Morning. That way, the readership was maintained. It gained popularity and after seeing this, we started inducting more cartoonists from the next year.
MM: What other clubs were/ are you a part of?
KT: I have been a part of D361, Fusion and the Marketing and Design team of Roadrunner. I always had wanted to be part of Chitrang but had unfortunately missed the inductions. But recently during NitrUtsav, I got a chance to paint the walls with them. They were very welcoming and I would want to thank them for allowing me for the opportunity. They are so talented!
In D361 too, I had introduced the cartoon section. There I got to interact with the most talented and intellectual minds of NITR. Just like those from Monday Morning, you get to learn a lot from them.
MM: How has Monday Morning helped in shaping who you are?
KT: I am a very introvert kind of person. But Monday Morning gave me a platform to interact with people and also helped me to develop my inquisitiveness. I think just being smart isn’t enough to move ahead in life. You have to be curious and should have the inquisitives to know more. That is what pushes you ahead and is something I got from Monday Morning. Additionally, there was a constant struggle to work more and do better because thousands of students are seeing and judging your work. It also taught me time management.
MM: Recently the GATE ranks were announced and you secured AIR 63. How had you prepared for the exam?
KT: Trust me, I had not at all prepared for this year’s GATE at all! Last time, I had prepared for it as I’m a dual degree student and had studied just enough to qualify it. Even though I don’t want to continue studies in India, I filled up the form just for the sake of having a backup. But I lost interest as there were no vacancies in the PSUs and thus didn’t study for it.
But this time in the GATE exam, most of the questions were conceptual and there was less of problem solving. Even though I didn’t know the formulas, I knew the concepts. After seeing my rank, I was shocked! The hard work that I had put in a year earlier paid off now. What I learnt from this experience is that,
Maybe not right away, but your hard work will pay off eventually. There is no substitute to hard work.
MM: What are your future plans?
KT: Initially when I had joined mining, I was a bit reluctant as I didn’t know what kind of job I’ll get. But with due course of time, I developed an interest and started liking geology and mining stuff and want to do a PhD in a good university abroad.
I’m doing a project on environment and global warming which is called ‘Measuring the Carbon Footprint of Mining Industries’. I would like to use this platform to tell all the to-be engineers and entrepreneurs that global warming is a serious threat and whatever field you end up in, please pay attention to how it is affecting the environment. There are more serious threats than just lashing out intolerance on social media sites.
MM: What message do you have for the juniors?
KT: People say that engineering is a journey. I would like to say that they are very correct and would like to add that. In this journey you will find a lot of people who’ll judge you, mock you, laugh at you, love you or inspire you. These people will have an impact on your life and will influence you. But you should do what you want to do and not what others want.
Another thing, I’m a big time procrastinator and like to delay things a lot but I would like to tell the students that whatever you want to do, do it now.
This is a competitive world; don’t wait, because others won’t.