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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Peter Chan at IIT Delhi - Bonsai

Who is Peter Chan? B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kgp; batch - 1958-62. Yes, he is among the first, or as some might say - the purest IITian!

What does he do now? He is a Bonsai Expert! In his own words, 'When I started my bonsai business back in late 80's - I was no. 6th, but now I am no. 1'.This is one of the Bonsais he made, and believe it or not, this bonsai is worth over 30,000 pounds. Keep converting that to Rs, but at any rate you now know how rich he is!

On 19th January 2010, he came to IIT Delhi, and wanted to meet students. Pity, only a handful of our students turned up. However, I knew little of who all were there and who all weren't. I was busy listening and observing...

Picture yourself 72 years in age. How many smiles do you think you will be able to manage in a day? How much enthusiasm would you still carry to learn, to see? How much self satisfied would you be? Boy! You so should have met Peter Chan.

In his presentation (rather conversation) we talked at length about several things. Like, how back in his day there used to be an interview apart from the written test for getting into IITs. How his stint in the Margret Thatcher's government proved to be a vital value add in his life. How can the London Alumni Association help IITs and so on...

After the whole discussion, we went on a short IIT Delhi tour with him. Oh, he's a true IITian I would rather say. How friendly! Infact, he came visiting even our hostel rooms! After meeting him, I realized that there are some things which haven't changed even after 50 years. Like IITians differentiating b/w people who got in through JEE and those who didn't, our star studded language, the innate curiousness and inquisitiveness to see new things, cherish old things and learn more. Well, at the end of the tour, we waited atleast 10 minutes in the sem-hall for inter hostel GD competition to start. He wanted to see it. Alas!

Several people ask him, 'How Bonsai, after engineering?' And he answers, 'Engineering is the training of the mind. The inquisitive nature my IIT education developed in me helped me learn Bonsai all by myself and make my hobby, my business'

Check out:
Heron's Bonsai
PS: Bonsai = Aesthetics
PPS: Stories about other people I met during this week to soon follow (Nicholas Burns, Tom Wheeler and Charles M Vest)

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