Saturday, July 14, 2012

As Train number 2621 chugged into Bhopal ...

14th July 2007, 8:30 PM: The train chugged into the station slowly and I got down with a couple of bags, some mental baggage and my parents. It was a completely new world, a sharp contrast to the Tamil speaking Chennai. Here, all i could catch was "Saale, Ma*****od, Be*****od, Garama Garam Chai". And all this was before I was swarmed by a bunch of autowalas which of course reminded me vividly of Chennai! 


But surprisingly for me, they did not quite recognize this 'National Institute of Technology' that I was talking about. I tried to use my Hindi expertise to tell them a Hindi version but got stuck at Rashtriya .. and did not know what to say after that. So we settled to go to 'New Market' (which I thought was a stupendously creative name by any means!) and those were my first memories of Bhopal, a  city I hated or rather despised at first sight, but grew to love by the time I passed out. So much that I missed it when I landed at Ahmedabad. 

Today marks 5 years since that day, and as I was reading my 'diaries' from college, memories of those 4 wonderful years started flooding back. The ragging (though I escaped the brunt of it, as my friends remind me time and again), the seniors, the 'MANIT Tamil Makkal.' The dinner trips. And the wonderful friends I made! 

From the Chaai (Coffee for me) at Mata with the Samosa to boot, to the internet at Sify iWay to beat the pathetically slow internet at college during first year. The Books n Books trips before the exams to exchange the books for a particular one that the professor allegedly sets the question papers from. Chinese at Rice Bowl and 'Hong Kong' (the latter that sent a couple of my friends on a hospital holiday). 

The fight in the first year hostels for reasons as silly as watching an English movie (I know what you did last summer) instead of a Hindi one (Vaastu Shaastra). The midnight jogging thanks to our eccentric director (even eccentric does not do justice to him!). A friend who shaved half the hair on his hands because a senior asked him to, to a friend who sent terror waves back home by telling his parents he went half-dead with the ragging slaps. Who can forget the 'Guess who' dude who was a trusted confidante (and a source of unending fun :-P). One friend about whom we falsely spread a rumour about having gone to jail (which a few believed and went to the extent of complaining to the hostel warden). A couple of friends who lived their 'love' lives on Yahoo! Messenger chat rooms. Those love tips for friends ranging from "asking one to write a letter and send it by snail mail" to ruining a "date" (or Killing his Jessica as the guy likes to put it :-P). 


Those trips to the lake and the pointless drives to New Market to have Chole Tikki and Fruit plates. The running around for the Ed Board and the trips to the printer. Cold Calling on random people and asking them for interviews. Getting some good ones and facing the music with others (Saale Chu****, kuch bhi phone karke poochega?). The fights and the fights and the fun we had resolving them. The cooking experiments which more often than not resulted in burnt food, though we gained expertise by the time we reached final year. 

The trips to the temple whenever I felt low. And the 'serious talk' among ''Swami and friends'' (Me, Swami, Sathappan, Kumar and Kumaresh). Arguing and thinking about the 'welfare' of the college. [I'd say we thought more about it than even the admin themselves! ;-)]. The wonderful bunch of classmates - a few who never wanted to go to class, one guy who always wanted to go to class and the rest of us who were caught in-between. The notes, and the notes that went missing. The group studies and the open book exam that wasn't. 

The benevolence of the professor who gave me 52/60 when I had attempted the paper for just 48 marks. The Ripple that never happened, and the Ripple that happened but left you wishing it never happened. The treasure hunt that left me with a pair of blood-stained pants that I treasure. The walks around the campus and the dam (which I miss the most, given they allowed me to stay in shape!).

Driving around, and the accidents including one where I rolled down the slope near Bhopal lake thanks to a suddenly punctured tire, hoping I come back alive from it! The Camlin Scholar geometry box and the scientific calculator that were my best friends during the exams. Those friends who were happier than I was (yes, it is you, you and you - I know all three will know who it is as you read through this) , when I got through to IIM-A, and the friends for life that I made.

Memories that I will cherish forever. Memories that roll back every time I read those diaries of mine. Memories that bring a tear to my eyes when I read my signature day shirt. Memories that I tried to revisit, when I went back to campus last November. 

MANIT is one place I'll miss for life.

9 comments:

lemmeb said...

Loved it totlly shrinivas! Nostalgia at it's best :) keep writin n keep sharin!

Unknown said...

No words... kinda relived my MANIT days too within 5 minutes. Thank you. And keep writing....

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