Borrowed from SAMPADA old editions – for the 10th Anniversary Special Issue – Interviews section. This one is of Shashikala,1978 ECE.

Shashikala is an alumnus from 1978 electronics branch. She completed her masters from uvce during 1996-98. Currently she is sr. Principal scientist, structural technologies division, national aerospace laboratories.

Team Sampada: What inspired you to get into the engineering field against the regular notion?

Shashikala: At the time of my passing second PUC, My brother had completed his B. E from IISc, Bangalore. He motivated me to get into the engineering. Those days, parents were averse to the thought of sending girls to the engineering course. Though my father also was apprehensive about the fees, we convinced him since I was a National Merit Scholarship hold-er. The difficulty of finding grooms also was another point bothering my parents, but luckily they did not have to struggle since I chose my partner myself.

Team Sampada: What are the memories about your college days?

Shashikala: We were 32 in the beginning & after medical seats got announced, half the class left & we were only 17. I always had to do labs with the boys. Outside of the class we did not have much of interaction, since everyone was shy.

The college rooms were very spacious & airy. We, Electronics students, always had classes in the first floor. I still remember the clamour of feet on the two wooden stair cases that are located at the main entrance. We used to buy all stationery like the bluebooks, in the stores located near the entrance. There was a ladies room in place. All the girls used to meet there. We used to have classes from 7:30 AM & some days it used to be very hectic with 3 hour drawing class in the morning & 3 hours theory & three hours of work shop in the afternoon. The college library was quite well maintained & another meeting point. Many a semesters we ended up starting a new semester class on a Monday even though we finished our exams on a Friday. Thus we were always on our toes with assignments & tests following after 10 days.

Those days there were very few ladies, particularly in our seniors there used to be only one lady in Electronics & one in Electrical. Very rarely there were any in Mechanical & civil. But from our batch, the strength started increasing. We were two girls in the first two years & two more were transferred from Electrical in the third year. The college quadrangle was great with the two huge trees with fragrant flowers. For all group photos it used to be the back drop.

I graduated in 1978 & joined National Aerospace Laboratories in 1980 after a brief stint in a private firm & then with CPRI. There had been no problem any where & at no time, I have experienced gender bias. I have reached the post of Senior Principal Scientist. I will be retiring in July 2016. On the family front too I had good support from my husband who graduated from BMS as my batch mate & later on did Masters in IISC, Bangalore. My Mother-in-law also supported well. Thanks to this, I went ahead & completed my Master’s Degree from UVCE during 1996 – 98. Because of this, bringing up two boys became easy and both my sons are engineers from PESIT & are with reputed IT firms. To sum it up I should say I have had a satisfying career & also family life.

Team Sampada: What is your message to the budding women engineers of our college?

Shashikala: To have successful career as well as family one needs to balance the work & home judiciously. Both are important in a woman’s life. For this one has to strive hard, adjust with many & make many compromises. The relationships are fragile. They have to be nurtured by giving proper weightage for all. At times one has to sacrifice something for the sake of some other thing. At the end of the day I felt it was worth the effort.

-Shashikala, Sampada-63

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