An abandoned metallurgical workshop in the IIT campus, Powai, had a strange visitor, a leopard which seems to have decided to check out the facilities in India's premier institution. About 9,000 students of the IIT had a stressful day as the leopard could not be captured till late at night, using its calm confidence to outwit all strategies employed by the brainy students and wild life experts to capture it from noon onwards.
"The large size of the equipment and various cabins inside the dysfunctional workshop has made the operation difficult as animal experts are not sure about his exact position," said PRO Rashmi Uday Kumar.
The wild cat, which strayed in from the neighbouring Sanjay Gandhi National Park, was spotted by a staffer around 9:30 am inside the lab. He raised an alarm and the whole area was cordoned off. "The shutter of the otherwise dysfunctional workshop was immediatly closed by the alert staffer," Rashmi Uday Kumar said.
Throughout the day it was a battle of wits as the leopard showed that it knew a bit about the laws of aerodynamics moving swiftly and deftly between the barriers and for every move made by the mathematically superior students and experts, it had an opposite and equal reaction.
A professor who was disturbed from his onerous duties of writing new alogrithms said that the cat took a small walk between the machinery confirming its presence, since there was a doubt whether the wild cat had slipped out.
"The wild cats have wandered in the campus at least thrice in the past six years, every time in the monsoon season which is their mating season," said a third year student.
Professors and students who went through the motion of studying quantum physics also discussed the leopard throught the day in classes and hostels. Yet they could not come up with a solution that would have enabled a triumphant victory of the geeky over the brawny cat.
The big cats of IIT, the seniors who are quite adept at discussing mass and matter, took the incident easy, confident in the belief that even if the leopard walked into the classroom, they could show that mind would conquer mass. However, the first-year students who joined the institute on Monday had a difficult time.
"My parents kept on calling me since they come to know about the incident," said a student. But they are likely to rest content with the thought that in the eternal conflict between mass and mind, the latter has had a better winning ration so far.