My Meeting with Pranav Panchal in India
Few weeks ago I had a wonderful opportunity to take some time off of my everyday job in GrabCAD and pick up my backpacks for a little adventure with my two companions. I’ve always wanted to go to India to discover its rich culture, religions and different landscapes. Not to mention the delicious food and extremely nice people. Since we have a huge community of Indians on GrabCAD I thought it would be nice to meet at least one of them.
As we were supposed to land in Mumbai, I spontaneously thought about Pranav Panchal who apparently lives there. I’ve known him for a while as we have been working together making tutorials for our Q&A. We also owe him huge thanks for giving us a great feedback on our new features and ideas. Moreover, who wouldn’t have noticed the Angry Birds models in our library.
So I contacted him and fortunately he agreed to meet us right away.
As we couldn’t afford Taj Mahal Palace we had to rent a small room in a hostel which luckily was just in the centre of Old Mumbai. Our hostel lobby was the place where we first met Pranav who apparently had to travel 2 hours by bus and train to meet us there. We decided to take a walk on Mumbai and head to Gateway of India to see this historic monument with our own eyes which lays just off the coast of Arabian Sea.
While dealing with the crazy traffic, constant car horns beeping and an extremely hot Sun (definitely something that Northern Europeans are not used to!) we had a super interesting conversation on our way to Gateway of India. At some point I felt quite sorry for the two ladies I was travelling with. Mechanical Engineering was far off from the topic they would have wanted to listen to. But hey, who thinks about the ladies when you have an opportunity to speak about modelling, strength analysis and stuff.
I learned that behind those super nice Angry Birds models is extremely hard working guy who travels two hours each morning just to get to the university. Not to mention the fact that it is physically extremely hard to get on the train during rush hours in the morning and evening as the local trains are packed with people trying to get their way somewhere. So I suppose it is not possible to take a small nap or study for the exams on the way to university.
Despite the fact that there are many people in India, the level of education is very high. High discipline is what makes it happen, he said. Still getting admission to respectable college might be extremely difficult as it is everywhere in the World. However if you are dedicated to your studies and get things done on time you will be fine.
Pranav is studying in K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering, a part of Mumbai University. It is pretty well renowned college for Mechanical Engineering and is privately owned by the Somaiya Trust. Studies for mechanical engineering degree is 4 years. The schedule of classes to attend are strictly fixed, leaving you with zero choice over which subjects you would like to study. It is different from schools in Europe where you can at least choose some of the subjects.
Getting a job for graduates is another adventure since the number of mechanical engineers in India is relatively high yet there is not enough jobs available. It might be difficult to find a job on your own. Safe way is to get connections from the university or through agencies. It is different in the IT sector though, where finding a job might be easier in India.
Pranav was lucky to get a job through his college however it was not as easy as you might think. Each company has its own recruiting process with several tests and interviews which shows they are out there only to get good ones. The funniest test I think was the one where he could only give answers to either by drawing sketches or writing poems. Creativity test it was called. Important part in mechanical engineering I suppose.
We stopped at a small kiosk and Pranav bought us a glass of fresh orange juice which was lovely. As we were under sun almost two hours we had to find a place where to rest from it. A tree next to Gateway of India was a perfect place for that.
Pranav got extremely excited when I asked him about GrabCAD. Been involved with us since June 2011. So he knows us to bits by seeing how the site has been changing during times. “I was stunned by the models by Scott Bruins, Terry Stonehocker and Danny Tasmakis“ he said.
The quality of the models was high even in the very early period, so he was a bit afraid to upload his own thinking nobody would find it useful. He got lot of encouragement from his Mom who asked him to do so. So he uploaded his first model which apparently was Lord Ganesh. This was when it became a part of his everyday life as many people gave him feedback and encouraged to upload more. At the same time Pranav downloaded the others models to improve his skills. “I had no knowledge of CAD while I joined GrabCAD but now I’m pretty good at it“ he says.
I agree with Pranav that the best way to improve your CAD skills is to see how different people have solved different things. Unfortunately I personally don’t have enough time to spend on modelling in CAD anymore, but still it is such a great feeling to meet people who have benefitted from GrabCAD. Moreover to learn that there are such a nice people behind the computer screens in the other side of the world. Thank you Pranav and say hello to your family for me!