Snapshots from MIT

My undergraduate experiences at Madras Institute of Technology, 1996-2000

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

T-Number system

A simple five digit number takes me places, all over the world. We call it the T-Number. I think it means "Technocrat Number." But meanings are irrelevant here. T-Numbers are all about feelings.

T-Numbers are the singular identities of MITians. I have seen many rich traditions in many campuses around the globe. But I am yet to see something more powerful then the T-Number system we had at MIT. My T-Number is 49425. 49 represents the batch number, 4 represents the Instrumentation department and 25 is my roll number.

The T-Number binds a student irrevocably to the "series" i.e. students with same roll numbers across batches. Hence my series would be X425. I am entitled to many special benefits from the seniors of my series, in the same way how I have to provide special benefits to the juniors of my series. I have received many books, question papers and equipments from my series which I have dutifully passed on. Even today after I have graduated, when I go to the Alumni get-togethers, when I mention my T-Number, I find some juniors of my series clapping hands and expressing their happiness. They come up to me and enquire my well-being. That is a special attachment and bonding unique to each series.

A funny thing happened to me in our first year. We were alloted our T-Numbers and were asked to meet our respective T-seniors. I was informed that my T-senior in second year had a particular nickname. I thought knowing the nickname would make it easier to find him. One day in the Library, one senior called me to enquire whether I had met my T-senior. I said no and asked him whether he can help me in finding the senior whose nickname was "so and so." To my bad luck, it turned out that he was my T-senior and he was not at all happy that the first and foremost thing I knew about him was his atrocious nickname. However, he said, "MIT vaazkkaiyila ithellaam sakajamappaa..!!" and forgave me.

More funny moments continued when we became the seniors for the first time in our second year. A great phenomenon that happened when we got our first T-juniors was the "T-series adoption." Essentially this meant that students who were stuck with "boy" juniors would adopt a series with a "girl" junior. This would leave both their boy junior and the original senior of the girl junior stranded. I have given many hints in previous posts as to who were the primary culprits in this adoption racket.

As our series grew, some changes came into the lives of students who were blessed with girl juniors in their series. They suddenly took extra efforts in taking proper notes during classes (to be passed on later), learning good English vocabulary (to answer questions in the autograph book properly), etc.

I myself tried to impress a girl junior (who was from the girls school of the group of schools in which I studied) using some ridiculous logic. Needless to say, the attempt backfired miserably and badly, and I am still living through nightmares of teasings by my friends whenever that subject comes up.

The ultimate fun happened during the final year when he had the responsibility of allocating the T-numbers to the first year students. Many students proposed unique methods to allot the T-Numbers. I need not mention that each method benefited the proposer in many ways. However, I believe that we at the IEA did a neat and proper job of it and acted in a fair manner.

After graduation I have seen many seniors talk with pride about their T-number and T-series. I'm sure even the Honorable President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, an ilustrious alumnus of our college, would have many happy memories about his T-series. What better evidence do you need??

(Posted on 17-Sep-2003)


  • At 12:59 AM, Blogger Swarna said…

    I had occasion to link to this

  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger SiniSteR said…

    Hello senior,

    Can you send in your mail id to
    for us to send you an invite for the alumni meet.

    Selvam Raju


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