April 23, 2007

A Trip Down Memory Lane II – The Places

Few things never change. In the early mornings as I stood bare feet on the temple steps, I once again wondered if it was true that the Clock Tower, the GD Birla Statue and the temple were in one perfectly straight line. It was almost 8:00 in the morning and suddenly there were the women, enacting the same scene that has always amused us. Travelling at breakneck speed, they always screeched to a halt exactly in front of the main entrance, pay their daily respect to the Goddess and then again cruise away to the morning classes. The men, even from Vyas, somehow never seemed to be the ones eager to please the Goddess.

The institute looks pretty much the same. Except in the rooms which were once the Library and the RefLi, (and in my 3rd year, the exam halls) there are swank new cubicles for professors. There are a few new divisions, like the one for international co-operation which is housed in these cubicles. But my greatest kick was seeing Kavi in his cubicle. Kavi, our sweetheart is now a revered professor and the one man army chasing his dream with his Mobile Medics. The Admissions and Placement Divisions have been separated; I think that’s a good progressive step with BITSAT coming in and Placements going great guns. The FD V looks as brilliant as ever, the library seems much more occupied and the classrooms offer the same brilliant view outside the windows that gave rise to many of my in-class limericks. Oh yeah the Photog Notice Board looks absolute wow.

Lying down in sky with a book as soon as classes get over is a magic lost on the kids. In fact, as I slept in sky after asking Pappu to send in my coffee, I missed the times when someone would sneak up from behind and put a handful of dead leaves on my face. People still go to Sky but the mushrooms and the sundial and the Skylabs side are now the favourite spots. I have always maintained one should never go to Back Sky alone and I maintained that. No idea if it’s still the safe sanctuary for couples. Sky however, still remains the meeting place for all clubs and departments. A look around and I could identify the groups without knowing anyone in them. I can identify a DOPY group even if I’m sleeping. That’s not much of a credit. But it gave me a kick to identify groups as EDC. Hehe J Some things never change. And then Pseudo-ju nudges me and shows me the new CF team. Old friend.

There’s a new contraption called SAC (Student Activities/Affairs Centre) at the old ramshackle godown that once held cots that we used as platforms for the idols during Durga Puja. I wonder where they get the cots from these days. And the now famous Sharath Babu has a canteen there that runs till 2 in the night. My verdict, I’d settle for my Fried Maggi at ANC. Situated behind Budh and beside Mal, it has a new squash court, spacious rooms for clubs and departments, (I actually attened a Matrix Meeting at one of these rooms) and nice lawns where Moruchaya holds auditions for the Bong Play Troupe.

The hostel blocks have not changed much. The rooms are still unkempt, the easiest way to get rid of the stink is still using the deo as a room freshener and like my four years in Pilani, I hardly spent any time in the room. But on the last night I did visit Mal, the Bhawan I spent a week during my freshers and the Bhawan which at a later point of time became a major contender with MB for my 11 o’ clock visits. And there was 301 Shankar, I owed that to Auro and Saha. But I never went anywhere near my rooms. It’s a tradition I have never liked. What’s my room without Floyd covers, Calvin quotes, walls filled with posters and a table filled with cassettes? And what's a wing if not Budhfront?

There’s a new hot spot at C’not. It’s called Nobles. I remember it started when I was in my psentisem and it was the worst restaurant I have ever entered. It seems the food is a tad better though the people manning/womanning the place are still the same jerks. (Excuse my profanity). Chimpu is still the same. He remains the most famous Pilani Character. Ever since I came to Pilani and was constantly chosen as the travel guide for DOPY and Bong seniors coming down on their memory trips, I have been hearing Chimpu say, “Ab waisa nahin raha.” He said the same to me but this time he added, “log 10:30 baje tak chale jate hain.” 10:30???? That’s when we started walking towards C’not for ‘another last cup’ of coffee.

ANC has a new coffee vending Nescafe stall. That’s where two of us sat till late night talking about nothings. Sometimes you can see your brother bearing his cross and all you can say is, “Nice Coffee.” The coffee is actually great, the best I’ve had in Pilani… ever. Perhaps it was the chill that made me love the coffee, perhaps not. But thanks to my favourite 2005 batch guy I reaffirmed once again to myself that changes are for good. Wish that guy who gives the coupons at ANC would change though. The walk out at night to the Pilani bus stop is a risky affair now-a-days. You have to sign out with your roll number and room number. That’s Ok. Let them find a 2001 roll number at VK. He and the guy who once lived in Budhfront always went for these tea outings. In fact, the others went out more often. The steps of Akshay, another place to just sit down after the shop drops the shutters, maintained its same tranquillity.

But it hurt to see SUB. It’s now a ghost of its past. The DOPY room where War Plans were drawn, the corridors where departments would fight each other for space, the wall from behind which Setty would jump in after his hockey practice at BOSM, everything was the same. Yet, the people were not there any longer. I closed my eyes. I could see our juniors growing up in front of our eyes from bumbling carefree vols to brilliant photographers and even better administrators, I could hear me fighting with Presidents for Cf, for poetry club, for press, I could see the entire DOPY01 come in for our last fest together, I saw the meeting in which the entire core group looked at three guys and asked, “So tell us which two of you”, all of us extremely happy that we were DOPY and not the neighbours next door. I saw my three and a half years of pure bliss, I saw friends I made for a lifetime. Today one of us is married and settled in the US, in the next few years the rest of us will know where we are going, but the thing that’s certain is that we’ll always keep in touch.

It pays to have a sweet school junior. He handed over his cycle keys to me and I cruised around on the roads all along the campus. My closeness to profs was always a double edged sword. I knew every single road and where it led, yet I could not take the shortcuts to MB through them as next day I would be grilled mercilessly. :-) I have seen very few sunrises in my life and the one at Gliding Club remains amongst my favourites. But to be there without a Tam chemicalite, a bong from shillong and a Mallu mimer would be unfair. The Reunion would be there for that.

Oh yes, I did walk into Shiv G. But that was in the sunny mornings of Pilani to give the old lake a walk around. And please please please!!! Could someone take down those horrendous signs painted across the campus in the wake of the President of India’s visit?

1 comment:

Avishek Saha said...

Please post some photographs of BITS, if you have... I know it's a distant dream now but never the less, lets live it through pictures and memories.