Chatter about the alma mater
The drive to Mangalore was amazing. The roads. Oh my gawd, the roads. Let's leave that for another time. Let me talk about college. I was with Vids and Pai, and we drove down on a humid Friday afternoon to see what we remembered. Along the way from Udupi, Vids brought in a fascinating insight into the IIMC life - the hostels, the JBS/Baro-C, the mingling, the tingling, and last but not least, the World war. It seemed to bring out the part of us that wanted to go back to college again. To study.
But first, we had to see what we'd left behind. No matter how much you call it NITK, it'll be KREC for me. Forever. They still haven't changed the signs at the back entrance. In any case, we entered at the Girls hostel side, noting with glee that the guest house was still the "KREC Guest House". The Girls hostel was right up and still the same, though we have reason to believe the girls have changed. Then came a dramatic entry into main block - my ambition of driving to it in my own car was finally achieved - we entered in style and the first thing we did was, no points for guessing, drink water from the water cooler. Read the noticeboard. Look at the dreary empty class rooms and wonder why we didn't spend the time there. Walk into rooms and look fervently for chalk pieces to leave our mark behind. Walk up to SD, and see why it's called Samudra Darshan. The view, oh man, the view. I would kill for it right now. (A mosquito has just realized that)
Our nostalgia seemed to rub off on a poor little Watch and Ward officer who decided we had to meet "Shameem" who has worked there for donkeys years, and he probably has a thing for her. All of us decided we had no clue who "Shameem" was, but you know what, the guy was going "You *have* to meet Shameem" all over the place. Which clinched it, I guess. So while Pai disappeared into the bushes or wherever Pai usually disappears, Vids and I were dragged into a room we formerly knew as "drawing hall 101" or something to meet the great lady. Turned out she wasn't there. So we exit gracefully and look for Pai who's found more than a few bushes. And the W&W officer's wavinglike crazy and pointing to a woman we don't recognise, who obviously is Shameem. Perseverence, that's what the W&W office is famous for. She was polite, and quite nice but I don't think she rang a bell. Any woman who had a waist of less than 32 when I was there would have rung a bell, and I didn't remember seeing "her" - she'd joined after we left. Donkeys years indeed. Or I'm old.
Well, hop on to the library. They've changed the entrance and build an annexe. ANd they don't call it the "family section" anymore. Boo hoo. We "interviewed" a freshie who was, well, a little afraid. He was in ragging zone I guess - they've shifted ragging to second sem, and it's the whole damn semester. How stupid can life get dammit. And on our way out we met this cute (by ANY standards, mind you, that stuff has changed) girl whose name I can't recall. Vids innocently asked "So you girls don't get pregnant anymore?"
"Don't worry, it only happens once a year", I pitch in, taking the cue.
"er...no one's pregnant", she replies, sounding quite worried.
"It was only when we were there that it happened twice, and believe me it can be taken care of", I go.
"We know the doc nearby that can fix things, let us know.", goes Vidya, "There's a board that says 'You are raping them, we are scraping them'"
And then Vids stops the insanity. I personally thought we could've taken it a little longer, especially because this girl was so cute. In any case.
Next stop, swimming pool (yes, finally), and basketball courts. I used to play there. And down co-op. We did the air pollution thing while Vids did her GB thing. And then we headed to the blocks. And Gate. Met Sunder, Basheer and found it had all gone south for them after we left. The kids don't come to gate anymore. The kids are worse than a wart on a rat's posterior.
An egg roti and a sugarcane juice later, we headed to the beach. Ah. The calm serenity of waves trying to tell you what they've seen. The eternal nothingness of the ocean beyond. The feeling of futility as you watch this massive body of water work it's magic, and you realize your life's little madnesses are nothing in comparison. The sun was taking a nap behind the clouds so we couldn't see a clear sunset, but no one's complaining. I loved it all.
We just had to head back after that, because arun had the reception on. But to tell you the truth, it was beyond nostalgic. It was heartwrenchingly historic. We'll be back, perhaps, but this journey has come to an end.