The orientation day and the convocation day are the only two days when IIT Kanpur officially welcomes the parents on campus (as correctly pointed out by Jaya) and what a sight these two days present ! I always find it very fulfilling/amusing depending on whether or not my parents are among them :). Incidently, my parents decided to skip the first one which is kinda cool since I can now forever brag about being self dependent and confident and blah blah..
Now, it is very entertaining to interact with these parents. The are usually more excited than their ward, more worried, more eager to interact with others around them and very nice to talk to. Sample these:
1. These hostel rooms do not have ACs? (Excuse me !!)
2. Ye bagal wala room mere bachche ke room se bada kyon hai? (I swear the difference could not have been more than few inches if it was at all there. Sharp eyes !!)
3. Rooms me attached bathroom nahi hai? (common dude, we are talking about ready to plug in internet connectivity here and u are worried about bathrooms !! Grow up !)
I guess it is the anxiety of leaving a part of ur family out in the wild world may be.
The most unnerving things for most of the parents is that no matter how hard they try, they cannot find even a single professor or official anywhere during the orientation period. It is all students from top to bottom who run the show. Now parents are confused. It is okay that these guys are helping out but how am I supposed to just leave my kid with them. What about ragging? I want to atleast meet the professors who are going to teach him for 4 years. But alas ! There is little consolation. There are SGs. If u want higher authority, we have assistant coordinators. Not satisfied? Lemme present the coordinator ! And we are sorry to inform but this is the highest level of satisfaction we provide :D.
Another site to see is when a CSE dad is talking to a CE(civil) dad. It only takes one CSE dad to steal smiles from the faces of 10 other dads when he loudly proclaims that every other branch apart from CSE is useless or that so and so branches have no scope left. I can see why there is such enthu among students in the first year to get a branch change to CSE. More than anything else, it is about social status. Fortunately, all these ill rooted concepts are cleared from the minds over the years when they stay at IIT and learn that a person is worth for what he is and not for what branch he is in.
And this is what I have always liked about this place. It is all about freedom. All about leaving behind those rigid mindsets. The biggest lesson to be learned at IITK is that there are no hard limits that cannot be bypassed, no rules that are true irrespective of context and no person who isn't special in one way or other.