Today is 19th July 2010….yes a random date… but had our campus not imposed strict rules in interacting with girls….and had kept hostels open for all, many of us would have started families there…. by today most of the kids would have been 12-16 yrs old! The 16 yrs old kid would have again taken admission into our college today!!
The thought took me to my engineering school campus – a private institute in Buldhana district, under Amravati University, few kms away from Akola. Each of these Maharashtra landmarks, I came to know after I joined the college. The college had excellent hostel facilities, ordinary mess food, big campus, surrounded by acres and acres of barren land and 45 degree summer heat to contend with.
Oh! and we may have been the only college globally to have school styled uniform. Wearing jeans was banned for ladies – thank heavens cause most of them didn’t have shapely legs to give any joyful contour views – and the central rock garden was the only place you could talk with girls between 9am to 7pm. No other chance.
This is as much as I could gather of my engineering college, stretching memory as further as the long road connecting both the gates. Some good classrooms, some not so good. Some good professors and some who seemed employed more out of charity to them. Extremely strict discipline and rules, so much so that even the security guards could bully and get students suspended with one complaint. The one positive thing was that it was the only place where I saw guys in their own self – some of my best friendships I created. It’s said in hostel life each individual stays to true self – no-show offs, no inhibitions, no ‘self marketing’, nothing to be ashamed of, just natural….
Once you come out of a hostel life like that (with its rules and contsraints), you know you have seen and prepared for the worst. Life can only get better. No wonder, it’s got better. All of us have excelled and this despite all the discouragement we got from professors. Professors who knew little beyond the divide and rule policy – by the way most of them were dressed from the British era too!
It was helpful that they considered talking/sitting next to a lady a sin! It helped the guys come closer!! And also took us nearer to heaven – the rooftop of three-storied construction site which was best position to watch girls hostel rooms at midnight.
Ok, I will be frank, it wasn’t quiet heaven, but better than watching guys parade in your own hostel in full Monty at 31 degrees centigrade (at midnight!). So thank our professors.
Also a hello to the security guards, the bank guys, the sports/NCC idiot (regret unable to call him a teacher), the hostel resident proffesors, the guys who served in the mess…and thanks for bullying us day in and out…!…We still managed to burst the crackers every time the lights went out, bang your doors real hard at 4am, throw stale laddoos at you or even send bit of ‘personal raindrops’ from the top floor, on a clear sky day.
The library staff was probably the most co-operative and understanding folks…I guess it had to do with library being the best part of our campus. Rest of the enviornment, nothing much to write about.
Infact it was an environment that encouraged us to bunk, en-masse, for weeks. And we did, with gusto.
It was any day better chatting for hours with friends at railways stations awaiting an overnight train. 47 of us had once bunked and sat in an unreserved compartment for 47hrs(!!) journey back home…47 accommodated in maybe 20 seats! when any one stepped out, others would ask to get some crap unhealthy station food, to share….. some forgot to pay back too…they still owe me the money…I owe a few of them too…. life has balanced out! and thank god they took the money, it helps me remember them easier!
I also remember how we lived on hope that one day our college will get some AICTE approval…I just checked on Wikipedia, it’s already got it! Yeah our college is on wiki!
Here’s to my favorites – guys who were experts in “proxy” attendance … some studs covered for ladies too … that’s guts! What’s life without spice? or without alcohol at Vijay or Krishna? and it was quite one thing carrying a drunk friend on a bicycle across dark alleys on muddy roads and quite another carrying a cricket enthusiast at 2am (same dark alleys, muddy roads) to watch Sachin open the innings, at a dingy mosquito invested, wooden seat video hall!
Wish we had (the late tea stall owner) Bandu, More and newspaper man Santosh on Facebook. They definitely deserve “buddy” status for each of us, during the time. So too does Sunny Deol, Govinda and Mithun da!
Social media has got us in touch back with our “technically” strong friends – need not be our best friends, but sure guys who saw you at your worst and in your best! Who saw you with clothes, without clothes! Who clapped loudly for you during
your nervous presentations, who lied for you to seniors during ragging, who got namkeen / sweets for you every time they went home or visited the local temple; with whom you shared honest khasta kachoris at the station and who used your toothbrush, towel, copy, pen, notes, books, jeans, t-shirts, ties, blazers, comb, soap and even toilet soap!
How I wish, today, any instant I can knock at anyone’s house at 330am and ask loudly, “so raha kya be? … nahi to chal ‘dealing’ karte hain….. ya patte khelega”?
and get the reply “hat saale, teri maa ki …”