Borrowed from SAMPADA old editions – for the 10th Anniversary Special Issue – Interviews section. This one is of Veena Prasad, 1998 CSE.

Veena prasad is an alumnus of the 1998 computer science batch. She is a writer of short fiction and a maker of crossword puzzles. She is the co-author of ‘Forever Forty’, a book on the life of Col. Vasanth A, Ashoka Chakra. She is also the second prize winner of Deccan Herald’s short story competition 2012 for the story ‘Headhunted’.

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

Veena: Actually, the regular notion those days was that if you are good at studies and don’t like Biology, then you do engineering, regardless of gender. Especially in areas like Computer Science, where the gender ratio in classes was also pretty balanced. So what I did was just go with the flow. Inspiration came much later, when I decided to break away and write.

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

Veena: My most cherished memories include:

  • Sitting on the library steps and chatting/preparing for exams/getting ragged! (Inside the library was also a great place to be – there are some really rare books in there that are of absolutely no use for passing exams, if you’re interested in that sort of thing!)
  • Traveling to IIT Madras for the inter-college fest (It was called Mardi Gras then)
  • Waiting for a lecturer to arrive, and after 20 minutes decide he/she wasn’t going to arrive and then head to Majestic/MG Road to catch a movie so as to not waste the day!
  • Conducting the music quiz for our Milagro
  • Getting my daily nourishment from Sudarshan Cafe (sadly doesn’t exist now)
  • Emerging from the inferno that is the ordeal of acquiring a demand draft from Mysore Bank to pay fees, and then discovering that college administration has left for the day.

Team Sampada: How has the position of a woman in the society changed over the years from being restricted to the house to leading companies today?

Veena: I guess women today are using pretty much the same skills as their female ancestors – organizing, managing, leading, mentoring – only, they used to be called planning meals, running the house on a budget, steering family members to the right path, and imparting wisdom to her children respectively. As you say, these were restricted to the house – but they are laudable and essential skills nonetheless – that are now done in a way that is more visible and better appreciated, and has certainly doubled the effort. However, a point to ponder – is money alone a reflection of one’s worth?

Team Sampada: Now that you are in the creative literature world, what are your thoughts to the budding women engineers of our college?

Veena: I’m probably the last person who should be answering this, because I am not in the engineering field anymore, not even close to it, being happiest when doing creative work! That is not to say that engineering cannot be creative, but perhaps young graduates need to identify an area that they are passionate in, and not jump at the first job opportunity, only to find that they are stuck. While this applies to all regardless of gender, women in particular may find it easier to work out priorities and make sacrifices down the road only if the work is fulfilling enough.

– Veena Prasad, Sampada-63

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