NASA! NASA! NASA! Everyone in my family, all my friends and most of the teachers are fed up of this word from the month of November to January. Family because I am never at home and social gatherings, friends because whenever there is a plan made I always have an excuse to not attend and teachers because they start getting continuous requests to grant submission and attendance concessions.

These are the three months of the year where my friends and family are my team mates and teachers are seniors who guide us throughout the journey. These are the days where we stretch our learning boundaries beyond our limits, working day and night, staying in college for weeks together willingly.

No doubt NASA helps us learn a lot of aspects related to architecture depending on the trophy one is working for, helps one make contacts, makes one meet new people belonging to different fields from architects, planners, historians, economists to government officials, helps one polish ones hand and software using skills etc. (The list can go on…) These are the things people generally join NASA for. But today, at the end of this journey when I look back I realize what NASA actually means to me and that its contribution to my life has been a lot beyond architecture.

(From this point the article becomes very personal, bear through it.)

I started my journey as a scared little first year, overwhelmed and awestruck by the stories I had heard about NASA and the folios I had seen. Till today I myself can’t imagine that this scared little girl who left LIK midway in her first year is done heading the GSEN trophy. I till date, repent for not making the right choice in my first year itself. This was the first lesson NASA taught me, ‘DO WHAT YOU LIKE, WHAT INTERESTS YOU AND NOT WHAT EVERYONE IS DOING.’

The second year NASA journey was a very special and long one with ANDC and GSEN back to back but one of the most memorable ones with uncountable hurdles which we all crossed together with an amazing spirit, never losing hope.  ANDC gifted me with a very special brother sister relationship. I never understood how working together day and night, sharing buttermilks and tiffin’s and covering up for each other made us love and respect each other so much.

Ahh!!  My second year GSEN.  The year of maximum troubles. Troubles of all kinds faced smoothly all thanks to my heading batch. Their co-ordination and management made everything happen correctly always. They entrusted me with a responsibility and it is this trust and responsibility which boosted my once lost SELF CONFIDENCE that I had made a right choice in joining architecture which I had lost somewhere in the span of those 2 years. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT, THEY TAUGHT ME HOW TO FACE PROBLEMS WITH A SMILE ON THE FACE.

In my third year we were one of the smallest GSEN teams in history. The women dominated team. The year where I actually learnt sharing the trophy responsibilities. A small family which in spite of a few squabbles here and there finished everything on time, all thanks to my heads. They taught me how to organize, manage and the most important where to draw a line, stop an activity and continue the next. It was the year when along with managing work I learnt managing people and their outbursts (which we all know are common during NASA.)  :p  A comparatively smooth year with an amazing site visit, chilly winter nights and loads of desert outings. And all this ended with the entire team going to the convention after a nice long shower!!!! (Though we still missed the train. I don’t actually repent that. Travelling in general dabba was an experience!)

Finally comes ‘THE YEAR.’ The year when we were known as ‘THE HEADING BATCH’ (The past tense is intentional.) Starting the journey with more thorns then roses, but attaining victory at every phase.

(P.S. – This is the most difficult part for me to write about.)

It’s been a year where I have lived with a cloud of responsibility always hovering over my head, inseparable, with me even in my dreams and nightmares. It’s been a year of a completely different experience of staying alone in a different place without other trophies and with mice as the only NON – NASA companion. The experience of not having the liberty to move out if one is irritated with the loud music or going and sitting in the niche when you want some time alone. I know it’s been worse for my juniors who had no place to hide from me!!! Always stuck with me on their head, shouting my lungs out!

But all these conditions literally made us live together as a FAMILY. Made us care for each other. We caught mice and freed them. Niche was replaced by walks along the five gardens, exploring a new neighbourhood, even getting lost at times and meeting amazing and the sweetest bunch of people ever.  Not to forget the awesome late night desert outings without worrying about the watchman’s shouting, every time at a different place and not to forget one of the best Christmas celebrations with an amazing Secret Santa and free dinner party!! Thanks to our amazing sponserer!! J J

This year NASA has given me two drastically different but amazing friends and the best juniors and co-head ever. Their smallest gesture of bowing down to me in RESPECT has become the happiest moment of my life. It’s been the best gift ever and no words can express how I felt at that moment. (Though I hate you all for making me cry in front of everyone.)

A journey which started smoothly ended with a happy ending with ‘THE LECORB’ back to where it belonged and to top the happiness of winning the unexpected and most awesome welcome in college.

These four years of NASA and especially GSEN has given me CONFIDENCE, RESPECT, SOME OF THE CLOSEST RELATIONSHIPS OF MY LIFE and above all AN IDENTITY. With the sound of ‘dhols’ and ‘academy naras’ still ringing in my ears and these 4 years flashing in front of my eyes, I will like to conclude by saying that NASA gives everyone a lot besides knowledge. This is my story and I am sure every NASAITE has their own special story.