Those Days

I wanted to take this opportunity to write about life at IIT when I was doing my masters. Classes are hard – Professors teach something and test something else as in many schools; they want to show off their learning more than the student’s success. Making the student fail gives them some sort of consolation. This was evident in few of the professors at IIT Madras, especially one egotistic Bengali. Sorry, I digress. Class time took most of the day. I stayed in Godavari hostel which was all the way inside the campus. I used to ride my bicycle to classes. Come back to hostel for lunch. Hostel food was alright. Godavari was more BTech students who cared less about food and more about fun knowing their future is settled. The food would mostly be puris and aloo-heavy sagu, garlic infested rasam, etc. But in those days, we cared less about food. The fun time was early afternoons or around 4 PM when classes used to be over, we used to head back to the hostel and wait for the wing-mates to arrive and would step out of the room to have some banter. Banter would revolve around anything and everything.  After dinner, we would go back to our rooms or to the lab to get some wanted computer time. In the later semesters, we would get to the lab at 10 PM as it would be empty and after about an hour of work, we would delve into computer games (!) – digdug, space invaders, etc. Well that was indeed a motivation to get to the lab when no one was around. During exam times, we were studious and did get together in one of our classmates’ rooms and went over text and material. After studying till about midnight (when not at labs), we would head out of our rooms for the ritualistic chai at Taramani village which was just behind the campus. The store was a typical tin topped store that you see elsewhere in India that you will think you want to definitely avoid. There he would give us half-cup of tea in a semi-dirty glass and we would sip the hot tea not bothered by cleanliness. I wouldn’t eat anything outside though. We would head back to our rooms after a half-hour break for more studying. Sleeping after 2 PM was the norm, but we would get up in time for breakfast else it would be all over by 8:45 if I remember right. The classes would start at 9 AM usually. Saturdays and Sundays there were no classes. Every Saturday, there would be a movie screening at the open air arena/auditorium and it is there I watched some of the popular English movies of our times – Officer and a Gentleman, Project X, Bounty, War Games, etc. And at that age, friends would keep an eye out for the prettiest girls on the campus and would beam if they managed to get any sort of attention. That was far out-fetched for me, being honest here. Before the movie, I and a couple of wing-mates would head out to Adyar to visit the Chinese restaurant – Second Avenue. Food was great and we would have dinner for 15 rupees each, that included some great soup, appetizer and an entree – FIFTEEN rupees each. We would then bicycle to the Adyar beach which was one of the cleanest beaches in Chennai. Sometimes, we would head out Sunday mornings to the Mylapur temple, which was in the midst of a busy place. After darshan, we would have lunch on plantain leaves in the hotel opposite that was all of FIVE rupees. Other times, we did visit the Saravana Bhavan in Adyar. We rarely went to see movies, but once we did visit the theater in Taramani village and all I remember is Rajnikanth was in full gear shouting ‘Underwear’ for ‘Understand’ and the crowd was all bah-hoo about it.I would look forward to come back to Bangalore after a semester. Catching the train from Paris station was as exciting as anything else. The journey would be together with friends all excited to go back home after a semester or for Ganesha festival, etc.

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