It's 5am and the morning is decidedly in denial of a new day, but a determined shadow is stoically pacing the solemn building. Mechanically slipping into each room in a perfected routine, it remorselessly wallops a baton with all its might into the dark nooks beneath the cots and over the attic.
It's another day at Vignan Vidyalayam's residential junior college. The warden is scouting for students dodging study hours, and his efforts are never in vain - he invariably pounces upon his quarry. More than one attempt, and the kid can be declared legally dead.
That early morning routine is almost the epithet for the sojourn of a student through Vignan: performance irrespective of will. The results, as they say, are there for everyone to see. Vignan routinely grabs state ranks in Intermediate, and sent scores of students to BITS Pilani when the admission was through Intermediate marks until 2004.
Vignan is one of the famous trio of colleges from AP's hinterland that have pitched tent in town to remarkable results, the others being Narayana and Sri Chaitanya. Famed for its personal attention and devoted grind, it has kept a vice-like grip over an extraordinary IPE track record. And it hasn't declared any intention of going in for a recess yet.
What differentiates Vignan from the rest? For starters, its campuses. The first to embark upon the concept of residential colleges in Andhra, Vignan has located all its colleges on the outskirts of the city. Fresh air, serene atmosphere that is conducive for study, and spaciousness are the trademarks. A fleet of buses makes the long distance journeys a non-issue for the students (though it still remains highly inconvenient for visitors and first-timers - you need to have your own vehicle or take an auto-rickshaw).
Then, of course, is the personal attention and the uncompromising routine - a caretaker for each section ensures attention to each student, and puts him/her through the drill. The huge play areas and sports kits are restricted only to minor break hours and annual fests - extra-curricular activities are discouraged except for the Teacher's Day and Annual Day functions. Yes, almost all work and no play. But it has ensured that Vignan's IPE track record stays put at dizzying levels. It has unfortunately not been the same with EAMCET and IIT, but frenzied efforts are now being made of late to fill this gap.
Then, the books. Students from traditional junior colleges of Andhra sing a little ditty: fundamentals stay with you for life, they sing, if you practice vigorously from Vignan Publications. It is no exaggeration - even its competitors use these for IPE as well as EAMCET and IIT - imitative versions if not the actual ones. Adding to these, the weekly exams, mock tests and daily practice enable students to perform better.
A peak into the lighter side of life here adds more brownie points. This is relative grading, relative to other traditional junior colleges. Then, there is the excellent food and hospitality - no parent leaves unsatisfied. Fresh fruits are distributed before each night, and students are ordered to grab a great night's sleep before the exams. The exclusive day-scholar campus in Nizampet has its own shades of handling these crucial two years in the life of a student. For example, interaction between the sexes is a sin here!
Unlike in other colleges, fee waivers and scholarships at Vignan are based only on performance in the Intermediate board exams. It's no different even for toppers of Standard X. Just that students from its own schools have an edge over others. And similarly, admission into Vignan Engineering College is easier for the alumni of its junior colleges.
Vignan lives by the principle that two years will come and go, but a 90% stays for life. Would you argue against that?
Ocean Park Rd, Kokapet Village, Gandipet Mandal, Gandipet
Chaitanya Bharathi (PO), Adjacent Chaitanya Bharathi, Gandipet
3-5-129, Near X Roads, Padmashali Bhavan, Blood Bank's Opposite Lane, Rajmohalia, Narayanaguda (3.0km)
Near Darga Busstop, Shaikpet Road, Rai Durgam, Old Mumbai Highway, Shaikpet
Survey Number 298, Bollaram, Bachupally, Opposite BB Unit, Bachupally
8-2-249, Mount Pleasant, Road Number 3, Banjara Hills (4.2km)
Osmania University Campus, Tarnaka (5.9km)
Peerancheru, Himayatsagar Road, Peerancheru
IIPM Tower, 6-3-252/2, Erramanzil, Banjara Hills (2.8km)
In the lane beside Hotel Golkonda, Saifabad, Masab Tank (1.8km)
Osmania University Campus, Osmania University (5.9km)
425/3RT, MIGH, Sanjeeva Reddy Nagar (5.7km)
3-6-137, Himayathnagar (1.9km)
Chaitanyapuri, Behind Bus Stop, Dilsukhnagar (7.2km)
5-9-1106, Ajdacent To Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, King Koti road, King Koti (1.8km)
Nadergul, Saroornagar Mandal
Kukatpally Housing Board Colony, Kukatpally (13.3km)
Durgabai Deshmukh Academic Campus, Osmania University, Vidyanagar (4.6km)