Tuesday, May 18, 2010

College, those were the best days of my life

I've got forty mins in my hands now, a blank screen in front of my face, and four years of roller-coaster experience just past me. After all possible delays in me putting up this post, I've finally decided to start with this... Atleast draft once.

College, a place where we were given the freedom, but bound to crave for yet another success(es), would remember it for good for all the friends I made, for all the experience that stuck to me every day, for all the moments that would stay in my amnesia laden mind...

Here it goes...let me see what I remember.

First year. I, was like a school kid, high powered spectacles, innocent looking, calm, get-along with him person, who thought college was just another formality in the long procession of education. With subjects like English, math, physics, chemistry and computer science again featuring in the curriculum, I felt I was in XIII std. How boring! Studying about properties of water, working of prism, generation of biomass energy, definition of structure and class, phonetics... Is this college? I would wanna spend another yr in school instead, I would get the same, but I wouldn't have had to expect any better!

Well, I didn't have to wait for change. It came pretty much immediately. Put in a single word, representing all of them - friends! They walked into my life and left a permanent mark on me. my roommates, who were all pieces of gem (atleast, back then). New people, different background, one single place - NITT. This is the place where each of us had a thread in our hand and stitched together the jersey of friendship. The after-hour games... First it was cricket.. Saw a whole lot of people there... Enjoyed those tiring evening, where the tall lanky bowler in me would get the haplessly beaten old ball with zero shine and bowl with enthusiasm and reap some success with that round thing. I was proud of my own slower balls which irritated the batsmen... It was a pleasure to irritate them, I wasn't their servant, I was my own master. Somehow, I would just love to go there, to the poorly maintained ground, mat-pitch, hard floor, pathetic grass and a patch of long-jump sand..and enjoy sending down a few balls and field in some deep position... occasionally watching the football game on the eastern side of the huge open space. These days were mixed with the ones I spent inside the 'sports center' where I would play badminton. Though not greatly skilled at it, it is a nice game, and energy sapping too! My 6 foot something figure allowed me to reach out to almost anything, but I had my own flaws, and my silent nature had its own disadvantages in a college like this. So, goodbye, badminton... And, hello Basketball :-) . Love and passion for basketball always there, but playing it with really athletic people was real good! No one dunked here either, though :-( . I was as good as Oden, if you like, jump shot was out of my book... Rebounder, blocker at max, I would just enjoy running end to end, trying to collect rebound and dishing them to my pals. At 6'3", its a joke to basketball's memory that I played center! I feared none, but one when in the court :-P .

The routine first year was something which we fell in love with... get up early, go to mess (good food then), tea at Bru, go for classes... lunch... some tv... afternoon classes...some games...mess... tv...friends... sleep.

Having a birthday on a weekday was very inauspicious to the individual. 12 midnight would spell disaster for the b'day baby. Concoctions, beatings and what nots... When the fellow goes to class next day, he prefers to stand during the class hours ;-)

Coming from a school and moving around under the banner of the school name was such a pathetic thing to do. Well, I'm in a college, I'm no more a school guy, so, thank you for nothing, people, I'm out of this crap! Made new friends, unraveled the new me...the real ME... It was when the butterfly really came out of the cocoon. My stern nature completely ignored a few blokes and I was chasing my own dreams...

At this point, it was very coincidental for the football season to catch some heat and the cricket matches to happen more often. For someone who is almost always there in the TV room (early for kiwi test, stay up for WI matches), I made many a new friends... A special three of whom, are the most closest to me, who have become just better and better friends over the years! Thank you, sports!

A couple of semesters in the first year drains away...nothing much happened in the second sem except for a ten day long NSS camp somewhere close by...

So, after the no-ragging first year, it was time to taste the freedom of 2nd yr. The freedom was celebrated in the first weekend with a Night Show (Shivaji) out in the city :-) . From Agate-17 to Diamond 34, with nearly the same set of roommates...a sane one got replaced by an insane hypocrite... a nice room, from where I can see the lecture hall complex and even a couple of windows of my dept! again, TV room was quite close by and more fun was on its way... First deliberate class-bunk, to watch Ishant Sharma's devastating spell at Ponting. Thanks, Ishant (I call him Indian Idol :-) ) and thanks to Viru for the game-plan... I love test cricket, and that was the least I could safely do to enjoy it :-) .

Another great friend was made...with whom I would spend ours and hours and hours together, talking on myriad topics, then turn our watches and read the time as 4 am! Those were really good days. The famous cricket ground there also had many funny memories, some great people, some great celebrations, some serious 'home' advantage negotiations... Well, from the first floor, the sight of some blokes playing the game was always interesting, atleast for the commentator in me :-) .

The dept...ooh yes, the dept... day one in the dept, you find out two famous personalities and the lab work suddenly seems a burden. Some interesting subject, some boring ones, and some seemingly unrelated ones capped most of the second year academics.

Dept gave me new friends. It was a funny time then... had to bug the class reps to set things right many a times.. and many a times, people thought that a person who writes what people say is a genius who understood whatever was written... Well, I could understand some, but not all of it :-( . recepient of most doubt-sms, time-table related sms, exam schedule sms, exam/test portions sms... Mobile shouldn't have been invented... atleast, sms shouldn't have been!

Anyway (I hate it when people say anyways... the word doesn't exist :-( ), in the even semester, I had a very very poor physical time. There was that week long 102+ fever, which then got diagnosed as typhoid. Looking back... That was one hell-of-a-ride.. yes... I traveled from college to home on a bus for 6 hours, with just one thought ringing in my ears, the words I heard from my doc that morning 'I think your liver is damaged'. Well, I don't know how to fear much, but the pain just kept hitting at me... so, not knowing what two movies they showed in the bus, I just stared at the tv screen, sitting in funny positions, not knowing what to eat, and what not to, just gobbled up a few biscuits for energy and lots of water for survival. Home late in the night, survived a few pangs of pain and went to doc next morning. A few days of rest at home, away from college tension, enjoying India's victory in U-19 cricket world cup and @ Australia (CB tri-series) on consecutive days, and some good homely food, the time went by and I healed, fit enough to get back to the college with a long list of DOs and DON'Ts. It was a hard time for a couple of weeks, but then I was fine.

Then came that beautiful trip to a hill station, Kodaikanal... A nice trip wonderfully planned, and beautifully spoiled by some seniors. I enjoyed nature's beauty nevertheless, and made some real good friends over the trip! Wish I had another day to spend there.

A few weeks later, the eventful second yr came to an end... (other mentions - horizons, T20 WC, IPL's start, graffiti in my room, late-night scrabble, people starting to booze/smoke...)

Enter third year...
Different hostel - Garnet. Wonderful room number - 13 !
Two in a room, so, now got the sanest of all as my roommates, gem of a personality, wonderful guy, fun loving genius. The room, as we entered was full of trash and smelled of dope, i guess... some brave hours later, the room was set to face its next occupants - us... We had to travel almost a mile for our new mess... so, thats when the student-friendly staff-canteen entered into our daily schedule :-) . morning breakfast at Staff-C was something we enjoyed a lot, on our way to the classes (ok, third year was quite easy for me, and personally scored well :-) ). Made another couple of good friends... A funny wing of mine, had a mixture of colourful people, the colour of comp sci was most prominent in the mix. We had no trouble from ECE or ICE people, as there were none in our wing... they can be real dangerous during exam times, love to flood a place and show you how to study, like they were born to just do that (ECE) or forced to do that (ICE)...

Third year was when I returned to the cricket field and decided to quit to it almost immediately after knowing that the captain didn't know the game himself... Waste of time, going to that place... Occasional basketball is all that I did since then and thus, my calories started increasing and in came a small tummy :-P .

This was a year when I got very close to my group of friends. The mutual trust kept growing and there was a lot to share with. The regular dhaba trips was a part of the daily schedule that brought a few of them closer to me! The power cuts brought one close... The dept, for some reason, brought some others very close to me! Sports, as of always, brought those special ones even closer! I could feed off the whole year on the excitement of being with all these friends, who cared for me, whom I could share with, who shared with me, and cared to listen to me... love you, all of them!

Due to some conflicts due to the above incidence, I started to loath the batch... I never got close to many of them, stayed aloof, and went into a self constructed invisible shell being open only to a few, very few trustworthy people...three, if I must number.

There was a trip that had to be planned to another hill station, but thanks to some people, genuine and irritating independently, this couldn't materialize. I'm dearly sorry to the two individuals who took the pains to make this a reality, their efforts have to be appreciated a lot. Immediately followed illness to a few friends and after some time, when everything was fne again, the third year ended.

Also to mention - CPCs eating whatever was left in a day, Jenny - our cute little pet cat.

Between the 3rd and 4th yr, I had this project work in the college premises. Myself and a couple of my batchmates were to race against time to do a project in 3 weeks, on a topic about which we had no idea. Slowly we learnt something about it (eat 5 days from the three weeks please), but again, Mr. Know-it-all was doing a similar project for three years and predicted that our project will take an year to complete. So, we were scared to death. 15 days vs 1 yr isn't that nice a target that you would like to prove your efficiency in. Nevertheless, we tried, many a coding, understanding and coding sessions later, we had our first steps on the accelerator and boy, did we take off!!! within the next ten days, our project was done and our work was then passed on to be scrutinized for presentation in an international conference!

Now, it ended, the third yr.

And started the 4th yr.
4th yr was mostly celebrating the placement of my batchmates.
7th semester was a horrible one! I had to learn man-management the hard way, was made to carry the load of five other people on two shoulders, felt how it was to be literally denied any help, tears of anger on failure and delay and mistrust, tears of joy on success (though few to come), and largely irritating courses. This sem needed some counselling, and a few good close pals were always there to help me out. The secret really helped a lot, I don't know what I might have been without it...Thanks to that friend, I am still a human with a working brain... Somehow, the semester ended. I wasn't placed, not that any company interested me, the one that did, wasn't interested in me and preferred not to listen to what I answered to their questions. Nevertheless, the new NBA season was hot after the Lakers won it last time around, so, I was forcibly keeping myself happy on that account...

The vacation had a few interesting moments... firstly, I got a surgery done on my eye, to get rid of the specs that I wore.. Secondly, our research paper was accepted for the conference which was held in december after X-Mas in IIT-KGP. That was a memorable trip, and after the conference, I had a certain identity..that I was a certain someone who HAS achieved something.

From the beginning of the last semester, I cut down ties with many a known people because of their smoking and drinking habits. I believe my ex-roommates are dead, because those $%^$%&^$**& and their horde almost pretty much killed me day in day out, every single day till those *&^&*^*&(^*(^%#@&^% left the place. I detest knowing them. I detest living as their neighbours! I do not care what it meant, I had enough fear to deal with, this was most of it.

Last semester was again, one special semester. I got placed. one fine funny day I was wondering what'd happen to me, who has forgotten almost everything he had learnt, because of one disastrous se? how'll I get placed? That evening, i got placed :-). Thanks to my CIC-rep, I was at ease after that. then on, a couple of new friends were made, a couple of separated friends were united with each other, and then there was that emotional farewell towards the end of the semester. It was after the exams ended that we had to really toil hard to complete the formalities in the college before leaving. the sight of leaving friends brought tears to my eyes every passing hour. Even now, as I type, there is that tear in the corner of my eye that I have to wipe off... Parting away from people isn't easy for me to take. Even while on the train back to home, when I was finally leaving the place, the thought of leaving my closest friends made me cry hard in that comfortable upper berth in an AC coach...

Being home alone now, with all these thoughts, it pains to think that I'm out of that place, away from quite some very great characters, my closest set of friends. I don't know when I will ever see them next. I know that we all will be good friends, no matter what the world has to throw at us! Thats friendship, built on trust, love and care!

Love you all, will miss you a lot.

With special thanks to all the faculties who have constructed an engineer out of me, I will always be indebted to your inputs.

Life in NITT seemingly came to an abrupt end...maybe so because I never wanted it to end.

I, personally, didn't want to mention anyone's name in this, thought the cues may be obvious in some cases.

Well then, Adios NITT... hoping to get back to that place for convocation.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I am tearing up, too, now. This brought me back memories of my own college days, though so many years have passed since. It also made me remember that similar experiences repeated a number of times in my life since college - grad school, for e.g., my internships in Minneapolis, the first two carefree years at Deloitte, etc.. Now I am more relaxed with not knowing what is to come. Bharath, though those times will never come back to life, they will transpire throughout your future in many different shapes, forms, images and actions.

    So, here's to a great new life ahead of you. I am very proud of you, you're graduating into the real world now :)

    Thanks for the memoir, it was a great read.

    lotsa love,

  3. Nice post da... The flow was too good... Was remembering most of the moments... Keep it upQ

    PS: The only one u fear in the bball court is the three letter big fella isnt it? :P

    Sayee Ram

  4. @Nithya Akka: Thanks, I am sure I will be a bit more relaxed soon, after the feel has sunk in...

    @Sayee: Avare thaan

  5. very nice post...first thought it would be too long for a read...but on starting, didn't want to stop it at all!!

  6. dai!! good one... too much senti u are puttin!!! u r one guy i will forever miss!!! do stay in touch!!

  7. hey bharatram! (i dont remember the last time i called u so! )

    i really dunno wat to say! I dunno if i was one of those anonymous ppl in the post... we joined the college together (i hope u remember that!), and we left the place together... Wat lies in between is a black box, containing many complicated and unreasonable mixed emotions, better left untouched! I must tell you if i have hurt u anytime in the journey at NITT, I am sorry... But u are one person i learnt a lot from and I ĺl never forget in the years to come! Hope u follow ur passion n like wat Kiruba said- be a master of ur own destiny- Sports Journalist! :-)
    Take Care!

  8. :-) ha ha.. nothing between us... whatever was, was overcome pretty soon 'the dept gave me friends'... Sports journo some day for sure!!! :-)