Not that I’m going to bore you with events from Y2K on, I have other stuff to do that with, but a decade can be a long time. And when there are events to add some perspective to that timeframe, it makes it even more poignant. That’s exactly what happened when, thanks to a get-together organised by batchmates, I realised that its been 10 years since we passed out of that place. (‘passed out at’ is equally applicable, thanks to a few classes!!) What makes it fun is that while I got myself a degree, and so did D, she claims that she lost whatever degree of sanity she had before she crossed paths with me. 😀
So, the place where we became er, engineers. I’ve always wanted that – Er, for engineer. Like Dr for Doctor. Er.Manu. Er, ok, let’s move on. Like the place has. While not entirely unrecognisable, its changed considerably. New buildings, better access roads, well maintained gardens. And they actually have speakers starting from about 200 m from the college, that play music to de-stress students. Just a vowel movement from our times of distress!! Hmmph.
The current batches were on vacation, which meant D and I could walk around and click away to our hearts content. We walked around the college campus with a few of our friends. Many of them are now responsible parents – mostly to toddlers. Kids who are too young for me to tell them that I have seen his/her father in the same state, if not age. Toddy tales for toddlers are perhaps not a great idea. So we talked about teachers and papers and cricket matches and strikes. Memories were rekindled, legs were pulled, tall claims made about the life and times from more than a decade back.
And just so that I can come back here and revisit the road once traveled, here are a few snapshots.Walk with me
Since there are no shortcuts to success, there is no lift, and we used to have many classes scheduled right on the top floor. It also meant that teachers took longer to reach the class, and students got themselves an excuse to loiter. And so it was, that when a teacher was spotted beginning the long climb, an announcement was made by whoever happened to be surveying the scene. Usually the teacher’s nickname was used. 😀
Surveying. Right at the basement was our department’s preferred source of dehydration. So more people passed out than passed thanks to the heat. During exams, we were tested by being asked to find the distance between two inaccessible points. Since in reality, they were accessible, kids figured ways to actually measure the distances so that they knew the answer. That made it even more difficult, since many had no idea how to arrive at that answer on paper. 😀
Workshop. One of the 2 papers in 4 years that made me re-appear for an exam. For D, the only one. I liked metal, but the damn thing refused to be filed away. I appeared the next year with a wooden smile. I got a block of wood this time. Everything dove tailed into place.
Learned of love and ABC’s,
It wasn’t really all work. Our sports ground. Weekends were the main periods of activity, and since I used to hop on to a Cochin bus every Friday evening, I seldom played. The building on the left was my hostel in the third year, and the one on the right in the final year. We got single rooms in the final year. I still remember the ‘Sifar’ (Lucky Ali) poster on my door, with the picture of an open palm. Ironically, I was an SFI member (student wing of the Communists), as opposed to the KSU (the Congress’ student wing, sharing its symbol)
skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.
The corridor that has heard my voice many many times. Shouting slogans. Trying to out-shout my counterpart in the opposing party. And the singing, since the auditorium was here too. Two worlds, two voices, both sound asleep now.
And thanks to the first set of activities, I was called to this room occasionally. The principal’s. At one time, we had the entire batch sitting in front of his room because he wouldn’t let us go to Goa for our study tour. He also happened to be a schoolmate’s father, which made me feel rather guilty whenever I cracked jokes/made slogans at his expense. 😀
And every time that I was down
Another place of great intrigue. I have only gone beyond this gate once. Into the building that is, not the other way. This is the LH – Ladies Hostel. The one time I went in was during the election campaign. And I was made to sing. Who suffered more, is just a matter of perspective. 😀
Apparently other souls used to surf around much more frequently. Once someone climbed on to this building’s terrace and dumped washing powder into their huge water tank. Since the water was also used for cooking, the tank had to be emptied and cleaned, so the entire batch got a few days of leave.
And when I was not making a fool of myself singing, I was playing Dumb C. This is the place where we won a Dumb C competition at the college for the first time. We even cracked the Dumb Dumb C round, which was still a novelty then.
I wish that we could both be there.
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed
were just seasons out of time
They said D and I hadn’t changed much. Oh, but we have, I wanted to say. But I smiled, because I was still wondering how, when, and why. The college still poses difficult questions, but there’s a degree of comfort in knowing that life and I can move on, sometimes even without answers.
until next time, snap out