A Man With Fortitude Of Steel: Debasis Mishra
“Be true to yourself,” goes the mantra of this multi-careerist. You name it, and he has it as an accomplishment. Debasis Mishra, a final year Mechanical Engineering undergraduate legitimately holds the trademark of a jack as well as the master of all trades. Popularly known as the ‘Campus Mundi’, this unassuming, benign personality has been an academic excellence holder, SAC Convenor, SAE President, Placement Committee Coordinator, to name a few. From making people around him laugh to giving guru-gyan to all his fellow mates, there’s something everyone could learn from him. Steering people with his enigmatic charm and disarming personality, he has inspired many people with unremitting dedication, tireless enthusiasm, staggering genius, and undying optimism, which he induces others with a wide smile. Team MM took the opportunity to get in contact with him to throw some light on his side of the stories.
Hailing from a small village in Odisha, Debasis Mishra came a long way through tackling after a humble beginning to his life. Debasis speaks about what shaped up his interests to set on a voyage that made him stand where he is today.
Monday Morning (MM): Walk us through your childhood days. Share with us some of your memories before NIT Rourkela.
Debasis Mishra (DM): I come from a small village situated in the Aska block of Ganjam district. I did my schooling from Aryan Public School, which was 10 km away from my town. It is quite an interesting fact that I never bagged the 1st position in the class; the 2nd and 3rd places were more likely to be reserved for me! Going with the flow, while my school was bubbling with 10 pointers, once again, a 9.8 graced my grade sheet. Alongside this, my inclination towards extracurriculars was profound during my school days. Everyone adored me, and they held me close to their hearts, following which I had the Best Student of the Batch award to my credit. Being a quick learner, I learn things too fast, and I consider that as one of my most significant assets.
MM: Take us back to an incident where you had to switch streams from Humanities to Science?
DM: With my board’s score in the bag, I lost my chance to decide. Maybe even a 10 couldn’t have served the case for me either. I had to choose Science with Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Neelakanthanagar, as the learning abode. That culminated in my journey as well as bond with Humanities on a dismal note. As it is said, The end is the beginning, a new adventure with the Whittaker and his kingdoms kickstarted. Needless to say, I didn’t have any regrets at all. I believed everything happens for a reason, and with this, I learned how to adjust to various circumstances in life. I was someone who loved making friends. So, it was tough for me to be in a place where people focused only on competing among themselves. None of them was interested in making friends with me until I showed my skills in Physics class, after which they got to know me. That day I learned that nothing is free in this world. You have to achieve each and every single thing. So, with this, I came across Rajaram, Satish, Subham, Pritam, and Simanchal, who are not just jewels in studies but are gems from the heart as well. I made hundreds of friends after that. Unexpectedly and with the same amount of effort, I performed well in the boards bagging a state rank of 9 and eventually, making my parents happy and proud.
The next big thing-NIT happens!
Bagging a seat at a premier institute like NIT is not a child’s play. Debasis had his say as such.
MM: How did NIT Rourkela happen to you? Was it your choice or by chance that you landed at NITR?
DM: After the completion of board exams, I had applied for JEE Mains. My decent JEE Mains score and board mark served as the icing on the cake. NIT Rourkela was the call from my parents as they never wished their only lad to pursue his education in some other state. Mechanical was my choice because I loved the mechanics part of physics, only to realize later that the mechanics in physics and mechanical are indeed opposite ends of the pole. Had I been in any other branch, I don’t think I could have even done 10% of what I did in these four years.
MM: Share some of your experiences at NIT Rourkela. How do you think the four years at NITR shaped you, both professionally and personally?
DM: At NIT Rourkela, I exposed myself to various fields, tested myself in different job roles, evaluated myself, learned from my mistakes, and the learning cascade is still on. I loved making friends, and NIT Rourkela blessed me with many of them par boundaries from the first day itself. Professionally, I started as a team member in Team Roadrunner (TRR) and Art and Cultural Society (presently Film & Music Society) Secretary simultaneously. That taught me how to take responsibilities, tackle different situations, build relations, and, most importantly, handle two different job roles at the same time. I remember January of 2018 when preparations for Formula Bharat, Nitrutsav, and Roots were in full swing. My days used to be packed with classes throughout the day, I used to run to SAC to take permissions and clear the bills. I used to complete my work by 8, then go to the workshop, skipping dinner many a time and finally returning to the room at 3-4 am. But eventually, I learned how to handle all of them together. My final year as the Placement coordinator also taught me a great deal of how to tackle situations professionally.
Inclusion in ‘SAC’red games
What is a life without SAC at NITR, eh? From winning the SAC elections in his second year, securing the position of Secretary of Arts and Cultural Society, with a record margin to being the President of SAE, he has had his fair share of experience. Here is what Debasis has to say regarding the same
MM: After landing at NITR, what evoked your interest in leadership? How did you strategize to contest in the election of Art and Cultural Society? Who were your inspiration and idol? How did you come to know about it?
DM: My sister told me that she had a friend there at NIT, and that was Swadhin Nayak; the name is enough to explain how I ended up contesting for the elections. I stood for the elections in my sophomore year and ended up being the Arts and Culture Society convener. Being the youngest one in society, I was favourite to all the co-conveners. This helped me obtain work experience with each one of them in different projects and events.
MM: You had won with the greatest margin in your time while contesting in the election. What did it mean, and how did you feel then?
DM: Well, it was unexpected. But somehow, I knew that things were going to be in my favour. For this, I would like to thank my batchmates, who supported me through every thick and thin. I never had locked horns with anyone and was probably in almost everyone’s good books. That might have been perhaps the reason for the number of votes. But that’s just a coincidence.
MM: What were the challenges that you faced while organizing the celebrity night of that particular year?
DM: When we organized it, it helped me in a different path in learning how to organize things in a better way. One can be a good leader. But unless and until things are planned, and everyone works accordingly, we would be prone to making goofs. So, that is the elemental step that everyone should know. Kudos to the then Vice-Presidents!! They were indeed supportive. Then, it was the role of core coordinators and convenors to ensure that chaos was at a bay. Celebrity Night is, of course, the night of expectations.
Every NITian expects star performers like Arijit, Armaan, Guru, etc and it was our responsibility to not let their hopes down. But hardly someone knows the pain behind organizing the celebrity night.
But the major problem lies with the entire process is that it is too difficult to arrange such a star performance with a budget cut of 20L which was 40L earlier. We went for Papon, as he was a good performer on stage and fit into our planned budget. There was a lot to be handled beforehand; money had to be paid before the event. Furthermore, he needed to get the money on time. So, after that, only he confirmed the date. Then the posters were released. The NU organized that year, and it was more successful than the past and the following years with the highest footfall. Kudos to Samyak Das, the then Dean’s Nominee for Nitrutsav, who guided me like a brother and was the man behind the extravaganza.
MM: How did you land up being the SAE club’s President? Tell us about your journey, how it started with TRR and ended up becoming the SAE President?
DM: From the beginning, I was very passionate about getting into one of the automobile clubs. I missed the inductions of ASME in my first semester, and the craze of formula vehicles would drive any mechanical guy crazy. So, by the end of my first semester, I made up my mind to join Team Road Runner. No specific reasons were there as I believe that one should get involved in 1-2 clubs and work precisely rather than getting involved in 5-6 clubs. It won’t help in the resume, but later in your life; you will come across situations where this diligence will come handy. I remember that I ruined my test in the inductions, but they believed in me during the interview process. I got inducted in the Powertrain section under Prateek and Aditya. This team-taught me many things; most importantly, I learned how much one could sacrifice for the sake of a team. Although everyone knew their roles, no one stepped back from taking responsibilities whenever the team asked them to. The leadership and management skills of Parth, Suraj, and Abhijeet were highly commendable. At an event, our car did clear the technical inspection and tilt test, following which it didn’t start. It was the intake manifold that was supposed to leak, the subsystem I was a part of. So, we had to return home disheartened. Everyone was in tears, but the Captain took the failure upon him and never scolded or blamed us for the failure. That’s team spirit and leadership for you. I never expected that I would be the Vice President of SAE. It serves as the bridge between both the teams. The teams want money, and we had to utilize money very precisely in a particular manner because we can’t come up with all the changes as it’s not affordable at one go. As a result, there are only a few changes in cars every year. Proper money distribution and conducting classes, workshops, quizzes, car shows, etc. were all important jobs as a Vice President. Again, the following year, I was named as the President. I had already taken up as the Placement Coordinator for Mechanical at that time. So, I had to take help from Shiva Surya, Abinash, Manish, Dhiraj, and Nitesh in handling the responsibility. Kudos to them, we still stand united as a family!
Debasis proved his mettle by grabbing an internship at Jindal Industries. Read on about what propelled him to such a feat.
MM: Bagging the prestigious Jindal internship is not everyone’s cup of coffee. How did you grab this opportunity?
DM: The internship tales began with many rejections starting from Bajaj, where I couldn’t clear the Online Test as it selected only 5 from a pool of 60. This was because it took me one test to realize where I committed a mistake, and I rectified it by the time Schneider visited just to fail in a highly technical dominant interview. But this was another lesson. All this followed, and now it was Tata Steel, my dream company. Hopes were high, and I cleared the Online Test. I started preparing Iron and Steel Making just to stand different amongst the crowd. Also, I would rate myself the best one in my Group Discussion panel that day. I thought everything was going my way just to realize the fact that the panelists had their train in the evening, and they wrapped the last 5 interviews in an hour. They had their selects from the first 5 it seemed. But this time it was lady luck’s abeyance towards me. I lost hopes after that and didn’t sit for any further companies that semester. In the next semester, I applied for the PC intern, and it was a hectic process. I did not just miss the deadlines for the industrial internships arranged by the TnP but also couldn’t mail many professors. Hopes shattered, I was standing in the middle of a river, and the tides were high. Then came Jindal Steel Internship, the last one of the years which paid 45,000 over two months. I had to do it this time, couldn’t afford any mistakes. They were highly impressed with me, and my interview was the first and the longest this time. Here I learned how to deliver under pressure. Eventually, I bagged the internship and heaved a sigh of relief.
Getting on board with the Placement Committee
Imagine all that responsibility piling up on your conscience as you get on with being a PC. Dubbed to be one of the toughest jobs at hand here is how Debasis Mishra worked his way through.
MM: Share with us your journey as a Placement Coordinator. As a PC, what challenges did you face tackling companies’ and students’ queries?
DM: This was a completely different role. And the season started with the recession in the automobile sector, and all eyes were staring with expectations, there was no way to look back. All my batchmates were looking for leaders in the Automobile Sector, and the confirmation of the visit of Bajaj Auto was the first sign of relief to me. Also, it had a total of 6 offers in Mechanical (including PPOs), which is its highest recruitment from NIT Rourkela ever and had also allowed Electrical for the first time. This followed with the confirmation of companies like Hero Motocorp, Caterpillar, John Deere, and Maruti Suzuki. So, automobiles were not an overall disappointment. Government organizations like ISRO, GAIL, HPCL, and IOCL considered Mechanical students and recruited good numbers.
I recall one incident, Mechanical had 23 offers by the end of the first month just behind CS which had 26 offers in B.Tech. But then it almost seemed to saturate as the Analytics season was a big blow. But in September, with the onset of core companies, things were back to normal once again. Our students have bagged more than 100 offers with a decent average CTC, higher than last year and I would like to thank the entire Placement Team for this feat.
I would keep it simple. For companies, a Placement Coordinator represents NIT Rourkela as a whole. The way he deals with a company gives an impression of the entire institute as a whole. From this, it can be clearly understood how critical the role of a Placement Coordinator is. So, it becomes our responsibility to ensure good relationships with industry leaders. Next and most importantly, a PC is the only hope for the students. The students have thousands of queries, and sometimes students keep on asking the same thing repeatedly, a PC should keep on addressing them and must be the spark of hope for all the unplaced students. I think these were essentially the hurdles I had to jump in the tenure of being a PC.
Adding the final feather
Not everyone gets to have a track record as good as Debasis. He did justice to what he had learned in his four-year-long journey with being placed at one of the coveted companies- ITC Infotech.
MM: How did ITC happen?
DM: It was completely unintentional. I had no preparation of any sort. To be honest, I was waiting for the TATA Steel drive, but alas! It canceled its placement drive at the last minute. Anyways I sat for ITC Infotech and cleared the online test round. Then the technical interview happened, and my performance was just above average. However, the interviewer liked my personality and gave me tips to prepare for the next round. I utilized those and fared well in the final round. I was almost sure that I had made it after the HR round. I left for my hostel after that, and just when I was about to reach, a call came on behalf of the technical guy. I rushed back, and he enquired about my last round’s performance. He was like a mentor that day. I was very happy with the fact that a guy who didn’t even know me expressed such intent. When the results were announced, I had made it! Owing to the fact that both of my internships were in steel industries, I had never expected to get placed in ITC Infotech. So, nothing is impossible. Keep putting in your efforts as they will help you tap your highest potential someday or the other and process your dreams into reality.
Getting to know Debasis as a person
It wouldn’t be wrong to say basis successfully juggled between his professional and personal life. Let us know what it means to be Debasis as he speaks about his bonds, interests, and views on some pressing things, among others.
MM: Despite handling major responsibilities and tackling some of the real-life challenges, how does Debasis manage to become ideal, sober, and a helping hand for all his friends and juniors?
DM: It is of utmost importance that one should maintain a balance between personal and professional life. My friends, juniors, and seniors constitute my entire life at NIT Rourkela. They have helped me when the need arose. In turn, it becomes my responsibility to give them back. I believe that I am a good listener and can suggest and give honest reviews pertaining to something. I also believe that one should be humble and down to earth. Even when one becomes the master of several responsibilities, he/she should be humble and down to earth. There should always be one person who helps you with that, and that’s my belief. And regarding my nature of helping others, I believe that one must help others to help himself, i.e. if a person helps 10 people in one place, then he may not get a helping hand from all the 10 people in need, but at least 5 people may stay around him. The moral being one shouldn’t stop helping others as the future is uncertain and in helping others, you are helping yourself by getting back what you provide them with.
MM: How satisfied are you with your ‘Guru Gyans’ that you deliver to your juniors the whole night?
DM: I feel they can answer it better (chuckles)! Regarding my juniors, there have been several incidents. One of them to be specific was about two of my juniors. They had a conflict of interest of some sort. They weren’t happy with their responsibilities. So, I called upon another junior and added to the weight of responsibilities and divided it among the three of them. And that worked later. I had to sacrifice a whole night’s sleep to help them out with that. But all’s well that ends well.
MM: You have a thing for singing, cricket. How often do you indulge in your creativity and sports?
DM: My interest in cricket and singing was at its peak during my school days. It started going downhill as I began my college journey due to lack of time. By the time I got into NIT Rourkela, I hardly had any leisure to spend on them. I was never trained in either of them. However, I have a passion for music, and I have been following cricket since my childhood. I am very much into fast bowling, and my all-time favourites being Shane Bond, Bret Lee, and Dale Steyn. My parents never really wanted me to pursue a career in cricket and optimistically speaking I hardly think that I could have achieved something in that field. Only a few make the cut, so a future in this game is quite uncertain. One must toil very hard for cementing a place in a good cricket team and has to have a certain flair for that thing.
MM: Every person has his fair share of highs and lows. What was your lowest point in life at NITR?
DM: I would definitely tell the rejection during the internship process of Tata Steel was my lowest point at NITR as it seemed to us as the last on-campus internship opportunity, but thanks to the Placement Committee of 2018-19, my preparation for an internship in the steel industry didn’t go in vain. Everything doesn’t have to go in your favour on the day of the interview, but if you fail, then one must not lose hope and should try even harder. No preparation goes in vain. Hard work always pays off, even though in meagre cents, it always does.
MM: It is said that bunking a class in the Mechanical department is easy. What are your views on it?
DM: It is a false allegation as bunking isn’t possible on the part of a branch like Mechanical with a strength of more than a hundred students. We couldn’t don a branch t-shirt owing to the different perspectives of the students. So, to build up that unity to bunk a class is far from reality. The professors, however, are quite lenient and student-friendly.
MM: The campus sees you as a ‘Mundi’, what does Debasis think of himself?
DM: It started when I was the CR (Class Representative) of section G in the first year. Back then someone somewhere started this thing. Some people still call me by that name. As for me, I don’t consider any such thing. I greet my batchmates as their friends, my juniors as a mentor/loving senior, and my seniors as a dear junior. There is always someone who excels in some fields. So, one must realize in what field he can lead a troop and work in that field. Everyone has potential in something or the other. I also have a certain episode regarding this with my parents. A friend of mine had called me while I was at home. The phone was on speaker, and he called me out as Mundi in the middle of the call. After the phone call ended, I had to face the wrath of my parents as they were very disappointed with that name. They ordered me that henceforth I shouldn’t be called by that name. So, my parents don’t really know about my life at NIT Rourkela except for my academics. This was one funny incident that got embedded in my memory.
MM: What would be your opinion on the prevalence of zonism in NITR? What does legacy mean to you?
DM: Zone isn’t something that is made upon the basis that all the people come from a commonplace. People, however, have changed the definition of the zone and have brought in this absurd topic of zonism. I was a part of a zone in which everyone was free to choose their calling. No senior forced us to join a club just because they were a part of it. You will find many people from the place I belong to in different zones, so it’s all about the interest of that particular person and the friend circle he chooses to be a part of. I don’t like the fact that students are restricting themselves based on geographical boundaries; it’s just the group of people you fit well with. In maximum cases, the people share common interests with the people belonging to the same schools, the same native place, same department, or are in the same club, and I think they are free to choose their group. It’s entirely up to the person.
I had a varied group of seniors who had successfully proven themselves in different fields, whether that be Swadhin, Manas, Ipsit, and Balya from the 2018 batch or my immediate seniors, which included Anshuman, Abyakta, Sambit, Sudipta and Nitesh. I also had different seniors in the clubs as well. They all had different traits and are currently in various domains, pursuing their dreams. If I start doing what they did, I will end up with nothing under my belt in the end. So, one must know what he/she is good at and should try to achieve his dreams henceforth. Yes, one can always learn the good characters from their seniors but shouldn’t follow someone blindly.
MM: What would you remember and miss the most about NITR place once you are graduated, and what are your plans after that?
DM: Everything will be missed, but if something is to be missed the most, it will be the NITians. I would remember every festival, every birthday bash, every placement party, every hangout, and every night before the semester. The future is the most uncertain thing, and I don’t have a habit of planning much beforehand. It has always been the demand of the situation which finally decides on your plans. But still, I would be happy if I could don the bureaucratic suit of an IAS someday, but it is still a long way to go. I am currently looking forward to joining my job.
MM: What would be your message to our readers out there?
DM: I would suggest, the readers utilize their time judiciously. They should enjoy their stay in this lovely abode, should get involved in the extra-curricular which will provide them with the platform to develop as a good human being. Learning is important rather than doing things to reflect in the resume. Play the games you love, dance to your favourite songs, plan random trips with friends, and capture the beautiful memories in your camera. Enjoy every moment you spend here in the college but most importantly maintain a decent academic score as life may not be the same again. I would also like to thank my seniors, friends, and juniors for making my life at NITR complete.
Team Monday Morning wishes this juggernaut all success in his upcoming endeavors of life.