To me, the biggest miracle is to play with life without letting it play me. If one can go through life untouched, that’s the greatest miracle anyone can achieve. Such a miracles will not happen with everyone, as every event in our life leaves a foot print and changes us. The events that happened to me during my college days influenced me so much, that by the time I came out of it, I was a different person altogether.
It becomes a bit difficult to pen down everything that happened to me during the college days explicitly, as most of them are still in touch with each other and I might hurt them or their relationship. I even thought of giving them some fake names, but later dropped that idea.
There are some moments in life which you would never forget and could remember even the minute details, like your marriage, or the first time you lifted your baby and so on; setting foot on the college for the first time was one such experience for me. It was a mixed feeling; lot of expectations; expectations about the kind of friends I would get, the kind girls, the seniors and the ragging. The whole atmosphere of the college made me light and I felt complete free for the first time in Chennai; I felt like having a pair of wings.
I walked in to my class and took a seat right at the center. Students of different specializations were put together for the first year as the subjects were common. There was a diminutive guy, who sat next to me named Parthiban Selvam. I introduced myself to him, and he was a day scholar and was a chemical engineering student. He was my first friend in the college and sadly I don’t even know what he is doing today despite the reach of social networking sites.
Like every other college kid we both thought of forming a gang. We framed a set of rules for being a part of our gang and started hunting for guys during the free time. I had to take two buses to reach my university, and on the third day all I had was Rs.100 and no change. Back in those days the ticket between Saidapet and Anna University was just 1 rupee (or 1.25) So in the second bus I gave the 100 rupee note for the ticket, but conductor of the bus did not have any change. Suddenly out of the blue a guy walked up to me and gave me a rupee for the ticket, and he introduced himself as Tolstoy. We had a chat on our way to the college and he seemed to be a nice guy and became a part of the gang.
During my school days I used to evaluate other guys based on their physical strength, I used to ask myself if I could beat him in a duel. However in my high school I evaluated others based on their intelligence and wits, but as I grew older I started evaluating others’ hair style, looks and their ability to get a girl friend. I used to keep myself as the benchmark and evaluate other guys and rank them. There are only two ranks, those who are better than me and those who are below me. I have already ranked a few guys who were better than me (Aflal, Thihal and Baradwaj). The next day, a guy in the row behind us started a conversation with us . I still remember his hair style, it was so good. The moment I saw that guy I added him to the list of guys who were better than me and to our gang. I instantly acknowledged his good hair style (I even said that it looked a bit like Shoaib Akthar’s) and came to know that his name is Prem.
Parthiban and I had a difference of opinion when it came to inducting another person named Suresh in to our gang. I did not know the reason Parthiban’s reluctance, but I wanted him and Parthiban slowly moved away from our gang from then on. We inducted one more person in to our gang and that was Murali Krishna. So the gang of my dreams was formed; with me, Prem, Tolstoy, Suresh and Murali Krishna.
However Murali left early and Suresh had a bicyle as his home was nearby. Me, Prem and Tolstoy took the bus till Saidapet and where we spent some time before sending of Prem to railway station as he had to take a train from there. We used to have some food at a co-operative store where the food was very cheap. It was Tolstoy who mostly sponsored those evening meals. Tolstoy then gave me company until I boarded my bus, and went home walking.
There are few advantages of being a day scholar in a Chennai college, the day scholars are generally more fashionable, have more city exposure, are sociable and are adept at urban humor. Day scholars generally become more popular than the hostelers. However there is one major disadvantage of being a day scholar, the moment the classes are over your college life is over for the day. You can roam around for a couple of hours, but eventually you have to go home. The hostelers had continuous access to all the college facilities like the library, the computer center, the college grounds, the gym and all other amenities.
A day scholar like Prem or me had to hang in an overpopulated bus or a train during the peak hours to get back home, and the travel duration was more than one and a half hours for me, so we could not start late from the college. I did not give a damn about the library or the computer center, what I missed the most was the hostel life, I was unable to spend time with my friends.
All of a sudden I had these three great guys with whom I could spend my time happily. However we were not able to spend as much time. I don’t know if the other guys also felt the same way, but I missed them and could not wait for the next day. So I started travelling with Prem in train after the three of us reached Saidapet, thereby spending another 30 minutes with him. Prem had a train pass, but I did not have one, so one day I traveled with him without buying a ticket(as I did not have any money). He then told me “Don’t think that you are cheating a system, you are actually cheating yourself as you are a part of the system”. I learned another life lesson.
- A lot more to come..