NITK Chronicles – S01E07 – The epic ‘NAP’

The only time I have problems is when I sleep!” #Tupac Shakur

I was acquainted with the word ‘insomnia’ for the first time, in a music album of Enrique Iglesius! I didn’t have any connection at all with that syndrome, and I used to sleep really tight. Before coming to NITK, a couple of alarms or a loud noise was enough to rouse me. I possess another feature which I feel proud of – I was able to take a nap practically at any time – whether it is earliest morning possible, or the evening 6 o’clock. I had complete control over it.

Everything changes. The beloved Dada of India, Sourav Ganguly, was once dropped from the Indian side before he made his royal comeback. There were times when he used to be the sovereign of the Indian cricket. Certain ‘things’ forced him to lose his place. That was the exactly the case with mine – when I came to NITK. I had no reason left to be proud of the way I sleep.

After Anirudh moved in, we used to sleep regularly – there was no reason yet to be a night-owl. Those were the times I used to mock Ujan every now-and-then. He seemed so funny with the way he spoke, especially English, and the way he compensated his late nights while attending lectures in the morning! I didn’t have the slightest idea about the poetic justice that was about to come, and which wouldn’t bode well for my ‘Prestige’!!

I used to sleep in the afternoon in case I slept late in the night. One such afternoon, I was trying to fall asleep as I felt tired. Anirudh was ready for the table-tennis, which he played everyday in the sports complex and claimed to bully every other one! However, we were having a funny discussion before that, where he narrated a funny story, in which he described how pathetic could be someone’s sleep – so that he will only wake up at the sound of the shattering glasses of the window! Obviously, the glasses were broken manually, by people who were fed up trying to awake him.

“I feel pity for them. They do never have any slightest idea about what massacre they’ve done by sleeping!”

Anirudh chuckled. He said, “Don’t say that. In the past few days, you needed 4 or more alarms to wake up!”

“That happens. I feel so tired at times.”

“Ok, I’m going. Take a nap. I’ll come back after an hour or so.”

……………………………….

“Why are you upset? What happened? Tell us.”

“Nothing serious. Just too much work here, and it tires me.”

“Are you trying to dupe your mom? Really? Tell me what happened in clear words!”

“Ok. I’ll tell. Promise you won’t laugh at me or tease me.”

“Why would I!”, my mother exclaimed over the phone, “Just tell me what was the matter.”

“It was today, in the afternoon. I went to sleep at around 4.30 when Anirudh went to play TT. I locked the door and helped myself.

I woke up when I heard my doors being hammered. I jumped out of the bed and opened. Anirudh, wet with perspiration, came inside and started to curse me. I didn’t find anything out-of-the-place, so I asked him what was the matter.

Here’s what he said. I’ll describe in his exact words:

When I came back, I knocked the door for almost 10 minutes. As I didn’t get any kind of response, I peeked through the cavity of the wall. I saw you were sleeping, and as I shouted, you just turned your ass the other side. It was clear that you weren’t in any danger – it was the way you were sleeping. Meanwhile, I was drenched with sweat, and looked devastated.

A few people, however, from the adjoining room, came into the rescue. They made funny noises, in the wall, with their handkerchiefs, with my TT bat, but you continued to show apathy to all of these. I saw Siddartho passing by, and I told him the matter. He thought that you’ve got a heart-attack, was about to call the ambulance. I explained him you were fine, then he simply left, wishing me luck. So left the other guys, leaving me in complete dismay.

An idea came into my mind. The renovation work of our hostel, as you know, was going on. And there was a ladder which was able to guide me to the window of our room. As it appeared too risky for me, I asked someone who was working there, to go up and try. He was afraid at first, but I explained him, how important this was. He went up, and shouted as loudly as he could. No result, of course, and I handed over a long stick of bamboo to him – which was lying over there. He hesitated and poked you with that. To my utmost surprise, you still didn’t wake up!

I came back, and I was so angry that planned to break the door. I started hammering and there you were – finally awakened!

I was shocked when Anirudh finished. Moreover, it appeared so bizarre that before going to sleep, Anirudh was telling a somehow similar story.”

“Don’t be upset, dear!”, my mother consoled, “This happens. Be more careful from the next time on.”

………………

Thereafter, my friends started to make fun of me and my sleep. I didn’t care a bit of it. When someone would remind me of the fact that I used to boast a lot about my sleep – I just said them

“When you’re good at something, never do it for free! And that’s why Anirudh had to pay that day 🙂 :)”

*Note: This episode concludes season I, i.e., my first semester at NITK. Hope you enjoyed all the episodes. Stay tuned as I come back with the next season of the NITK Chronicles!!*

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//

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NITK Chronicles – S01E06 – The 72-hour journey

“Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages.” #James Madison

“So”, my father asked, “you’ll be missing the Durga Puja, this time, isn’t it?”
“Don’t say that yet”, I said, “I’m yearning for the tickets. I’m trying every route possible, and I’ve got a few more left. Give me another couple of days, and I’ll let you know.”
“Ok”, he said, “but as you won’t be able to manage more than a week, make sure the journey is short. Otherwise, there is no point coming back.”
“What are you saying? I will come back at any cost. I’ve never missed a single Durga Puja till date. Why this time?”

It was around the end of August. There were less than 50 days left, and almost all possible trains which could take me to Kolkata, were booked more than a month ago. The amendment to the Railway booking service came a few months later, which allowed the passengers to book the tickets at most 2 months prior to their journey. At that point of time, as I was searching more and more trains, my hopes were getting more and more diminutive.

I am someone who always likes to follow the rules, wherever feasible. I was desperate when it was September. I decided to break a few rules. After another exhausting day of searching, I finally booked the tickets!

“Are you completely out of your mind? 3days!!” my mother exclaimed, “Have you ever thought how much patience will you need throughout the journey? Besides, half of the Puja days will be gone, and you’ll have to stay only for 5 days! That’s crazy. Please think about it again.”
“Do you want me to come back or not? Forget about the days, days will pass, even if I come for a month. I won’t miss Durga Puja, I won’t miss you. I will come.”
“You’ll be all alone. Please take care of yourself while you come. We will be utterly tensed!”
“Don’t worry about that!! I am not a CHILD!”

Mangalore, a small city in the west coast of India, is around 2500 Km. far from my abode, Kolkata. It usually takes around 44-48 hours to reach, by train.

As the days approached, I was getting more and more excited. I had never cared about the length of the journey. All I need, is a few novels, especially paperbacks, to pass the time. As my friends started to know my itinerary, they just didn’t seem to believe it. They were sure that I won’t make it. But I ensured that, I will.

Finally, it was the time. I carried a trolley and a backpack. The first train, which was supposed to take me from Mangalore Central station to Chennai Egmore station, had the departure time of 5.30 am. I was awake all night, excited, watching a few “The Big Bang Theory” episodes with Ujan. As I was ready to go, Ujan murmured, “God be merciful on this kid!! You don’t have the slightest idea about what this journey is going to be like!”

It started smoothly. Buses were regular, so was I. Contrary to all expectations, I set off very early, and reached the station half-an-hour earlier. I was having a glance on the train timings, where I was quite shocked to discover that my train takes almost 24 hours to reach Chennai, where 16 hours were enough for all the others. I sighed, and slowly started to get an explanation why it would take 72 hours to reach!

People who can remember the India map, will understand when I say if there was a way for traveling through Bangladesh, we could reach most of the North-East states earlier. So was the itinerary of this train, which covers almost the whole South India! Starting from West Coast, it forms a U-shape before reaching Chennai, which can be considered a legit explanation for the extra 8 hours.

I took a 14-hour long sleep in the train – which compensated for my tiredness. When I reached Chennai Egmore, it was dawn – and I was already lethargic. Not because I had only passed 1/3-rd of the journey I had in total, but it was the buffer time in the Chennai Egmore station.

17 hours!! Yes, that was the time I was supposed to wait for the next train that takes me to Bhubaneswar. This was the place where I breached the law – you are not supposed to wait in a free waiting hall for more than 2 hours. I was not in a position to afford fifty rupees per hour for the 15 extra hours.

At first, I tried to remember if there was someone I knew in Chennai. Any friend or relative would have worked. Fortunately, I had a relative living there and a couple of my friends. I decided to go to one of their places, and pass the time, somehow.

Although, I didn’t appear to be as fortunate as Mahendra Singh Dhoni! When I called them, both my friends were back to Kolkata. Now, I had the only option left, who, let me know that, I have to take an auto to reach their house – there isn’t bus route for that.
It was drizzling by then. That was the moment I understood why the auto drivers in Chennai and Bangalore are so famous. No one was ready to go unless I pay Rs. 500, and they were busy in a competition to snatch my bag. I refused all of them. I could see my fortune by then – no other way than spending all those hours in the waiting hall.

I went in there. As I planned to sleep for the first few hours, the hawkers, the newspaper-sellers and the beggars didn’t allow me to do so. It was 6.30 in the morning, and my train was supposed to arrive at 10.30 at night.

I was already impatient. It felt like I have already languished there for hours, and started loitering, keeping an eye on my luggage. I tried reading novels, concentrating on the myriads of hawkers and their stocks. Even, I tried to overhear the conversations among the waiting passengers, and guess the language being spoken. Meanwhile, I had the breakfast from a railway canteen and looked for a few other canteens as well. I didn’t want to show up at a canteen more than once, because I was afraid of getting caught! When I came back with my prodigious luggage, I was tired. Looking here and there, I found an empty bench to sleep.

When I was almost asleep, after tying up both my luggage with a chain, I suddenly heard someone’s voice in Bengali. I almost jumped out of my bed (or, whatever it was!), because all I was looking for, was passing the time, not sleeping. They were also happy when I met them, because that’s what Bengalis look for when they are out of the station – Another Bengali!!

They were supposed to stay till 5 o’clock in the evening. Their train was delayed by 7 hours – and they were going to Kanyakumari. I felt a bit disgusted. Since my childhood, I feel pity for those who travels during Durga Puja and misses the beauty of Kolkata, celebrating its biggest festival. But, I suddenly realized, they are my salvation! Not only because they are Bengalis, but also I had more than half-a-day to spend!

As I explained my situation, one of them, aged around 40 years, wearing a white t-shirt and a jeans, assured me. He told me that you’ll be considered as one of us – and they never ask for the tickets.

Time passed quickly. My parents were calling in a regular interval, and Kolkata had already started celebrating its biggest festival. I got back all my enthusiasm. Just another day and a half – and then I’ll be there, at my home. The acquaintances were asking me about my happiness, and I explained. Although, I wasn’t honest through-out. I was confirmed that they’ll consider me a stupid, had I told them about this 3-day journey. I informed them that I stayed at a friend’s place here, for a day, and then I’m going back. Though the way I said it, wasn’t very convincing, they didn’t ask further. There was a very cute little girl among them. She studied in the second standard. We had a lot of fun together.

Once they were about to go, I felt very sad. I had never passed so much time constantly with someone unknown, as this, and I thought I’ll miss them. As they bid me good-bye, my little girlfriend was crying. I pat her back, and promised her that I’ll visit her home someday once they come back to Kolkata.

I got emotional. Not because I was telling her the lie, but because the way she smiled after hearing that. In the entirety of my PG days, I used to visit my home twice or thrice, at most, in a semester, and had to stay for only a week. This was my first visit after I came to NITK, and didn’t know when I’ll go back next. But, neither the little girl was ready to understand all this, nor I was ready to break her heart.

As I was missing her and tried to concentrate on a novel, time didn’t seem to pass. About 12 hours were over, but the rest of the 5 hours seemed an eternity. You won’t find many Bengalis in the Chennai Egmore station. Neither did I. When I was almost in a state of devastation, my train had arrived.

I took another 12-hour sleep. The day passed without anything memorable, and I reached Bhubaneswar at around 9 o’clock in the night.

Bhubaneswar, one of the most beautiful and largest cities in Odisha, was celebrating Durga Puja as well, being the immediate neighbor of West Bengal. I was restless and couldn’t wait any more. It was just a matter of a few hours. Every second seemed like an hour, and I almost ended all my balance calling my friends and parents. When the train came, I almost ran to it.

“Halt!” someone shouted, “You’re forgetting your backpack, young man!”
I noticed and discovered my stupidity. I had my laptop in it, and a few other valuables. I almost panicked and came back to snatch the back from the old man’s hand. As I thanked him and turned, he smiled and asked,
“You seem to be in a hurry. Are you going home after a long time?”
“Yes, uncle! It’s Durga Puja, and how can I miss it.”
“Well” he said, “Take care son! Be careful with your belongings. Have a safe journey.”
“Sure uncle!” I joined my palms in the pose of a Namaskar, “You made my day. You don’t know what you’ve done today. Had I lost the bag, I would have been mad!”
“Well,” He smiled, “Now you’re getting late. Go and catch your train!! Run!!”

I smiled and ran for the train. I was already feeling the happiest man in the earth, once I read the destination of the train. My abode!! It’s my place!! It’s Durga Puja!!

There were more amazement for me. I had never seen the sleeper class of an Indian rail having power outlets. I was so shocked!! I was overwhelmed with joy, and spent that whole night with my laptop. I kept looking anxiously, out of the window. I can’t forget the moment when I saw the Bengali fonts outside!! It was night, but it was Durga Puja. The entire West Bengal spends sleepless nights on these days, and there were lights everywhere. I reached half-an-hour early, at around 4.30am, and my father came to receive me. I was so happy that I put my luggage down and hugged him, tightly. I was crying, so was he, because I had never stayed without my parents for months till then. We headed straight back to our home.

There was a line in one of the novels I was reading in those days, “The completeness of a journey in hidden in its end!” No one was in a better position to realize it better than me, at that moment, I would bet!!

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//

NITK Chronicles – S01E05 – The mess food

“There is something about mess food that makes it beyond comparison to anything else of the edible variety.” – #Unknown

The time when we started our NITK days, we became familiar with the word “TROLL” – which had become a buzzword of the internet. The first practical situation where I felt trolled – was the time when I was allocated the mess.

The college website had proudly announced, “We have 7 messes to choose from, including a non-veg mess.” Later on, when I had a few heated arguments with the officials, thy never acceded to my request. They were blatant, and were probably ready to reach the Supreme Court on this matter-and they would never allocate something other than PG mess.

Well, I’ve seen a few funny posts about mess foods over the time-but I highly doubt those authors were in such a pathetic situation, in which we were. As the mess started, we were introduced to a variety of South Indian foods in the breakfast and the supper – which didn’t really was that bad. But, the showstoppers were to torment us – The Lunch and the Dinner!

We seriously wonder how Dinosaurs didn’t survive in the earth, when we’ve survived the famous PG mess food. In a few days, Anirudh was elected(or, selected, as you’d like to read!) as the Hostel Representative. In his earlier days, he had shown great enthusiasm against the fiends – fiends who used to cook and serve food there. He used to be aggressive in all the hostel committee meetings. Though a few people would promise that some betterment will be done within a few days – the day never came!

We were accustomed to both the diminutive amount of food they served – and the quality they offered. Slowly, we were out of any energy and started showing apathy. Once or twice in a week, someone would find a dead insect served in his dish along with the supposedly edible object – and we would hear heating arguments for a few minutes.

We were Post-Graduate students – our college is liable to pay us stipend every month. For the first 3 months, they turned this liability into an(or, a lot of) asset(s) by dispatching the stipend amounts of the first three months together at the end of the fourth month.

By that time the semester was almost over. We used to curse the officials – but I discovered that there was a mutual benefit involved. For them, it was a bulky amount of interest – but for us, it was a huge save of money. We made the mess food a part and parcel of our life, which wouldn’t have been possible, had the stipends come earlier!

There was a few exceptions, though! Siddhartho, the one from IT, and a few of his friends, who were later known by “The ITwalas”, didn’t seem to care. They used to visit the nearby hotels at least twice a week, and they had made the night canteen owner richer! The night canteen, ridiculously, cooked delicious foods at a reasonable price, and were ready to deliver it anytime between 9pm – 3am. The perks were almost irresistible to “The ITwalas”!!

However, the most of us were poor fellows. We always targeted the time when the mess is about to be closed, and the food will be open for self-service! Though it had backfired a few times, when the servers coldly refused and informed that all the food was exhausted. However, that was only 10% of the times.

Otherwise, at least I had taken the most out of it. I remember them to serve a dish they call Veg Kofta on Wednesday nights. It consisted of diluted curry and a medium sized ‘object’ – which was named “The Grenade” by Anirudh! At times, it didn’t seem edible – but otherwise, I used to assimilate 10-15 of them, together – which made me famous!

We were known for a lot of other crazy things in the mess. After staying for an year in the PG hostel, my weight (mass, to be precise!) was down to 65kg., from the three-fourth of a hundred. Food was the primary focus initially – but we had shown our true mettle later – when we had to face the other challenges :

The challenges of studying in an NIT!!

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//

NITK Chronicles – S01E04 – The careless flutist

“Life is like a flute. It may have many holes and emptiness but if you work on it carefully, it can play magical melodies.” – #Unknown.

As soon as Ujan neared the end of the melodious raga he was playing, I was busy messaging someone.

“How do you type your messages so fast?”

“Just the way you master the flute!”

“Stop pulling my leg!! You should’ve heard my Sir playing.”

“Hmm..will you teach me?”

“You were typing some text, weren’t you? Concentrate on that!!”

As I was heading back to my room after a couple of euphonious hours, I was envious. Though I had plans of learning at least one musical instrument since my school days, I could barely allocate any time for that. But after a few weeks in the first hostel that I’ve ever lived, I used to find myself with plenty of time wasted playing games and watching youtube videos. One of my friends, who started learning guitar in his college days but had to quit after a few months, used to emphasize how arid the period was, to him. Thus, I happened to believe that, I’m no more in the age of learning them.

This had stupefied Ujan.

“You claim yourself boffin, don’t you? How were you, at all, convinced by such a logic?”

“Are you not saying that its too late?”

“Certainly not! But you need to have patience, Besides, your palms are so flaccid, unlike a man. This might cause a few difficulties. Although, you must not give in!”

Both Anirudh and Ujan inspired me, but that wasn’t enough. As Ujan used to play tunes whenever he found leisure (which he often did, by missing a lot of lectures!), I thought it must be irritating people. After a few days, his melodies sounded monotonous to me, and my excuse was getting stronger.

Although, Ujan never seemed to care. Whether it was his flute, or his words, or his attitude, he never cared about what people say. However, it made him very irritating and seemingly unfriendly that time. But later, he appeared to be the least hypocrite among all and was he had remoulded his character to become a popular figure in the campus. Though that had taken ample amount of time, we were lucky enough to enjoy Ujan, uncut!!

He claimed himself a ‘PURITAN’! He was probably the other one than Subhayan da, another Bengali from the Information Technology department, who carefully avoided slang! Contrasting to Siddhartho, who could barely form a single sentence without argots, Ujan not only avoided it himself, but also used to avoid the people who uttered slang! He was soon deserted, and as the only possible way-out was to befriend the girls in the campus!!

He didn’t take much time to ‘correct’ himself. By that time, a few months had passed, and we were good friends. Ujan used to mock me on a regular basis, about how I formed excuses to stay away from the music. He was very specific with his choice of music, literature and movies, and all those (most of the people!!) who opposed, he named them ‘ignorant’ or ‘childish’. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t an exception, and I can barely tolerate him making fun of me every now and then. By that time, we had formed a group of ‘Bengalis’ in the hostel, and most of them shared my opinions about him.

Though, it didn’t take much time to discover his versatility, as well as the great human being which he was. I didn’t have the slightest idea about the way Ujan was going to motivate me in future, in many aspects. He is as incorrigible and adamant now, as he was then, but we’ve found a great person in the “PURITAN”. He is one of those rare friends, whom you should feel proud of!!

If someone says, “I have cars, bungalows, money, wife – what do you have?”

I can retort, “I have a friend who is known as Ujan!!” 😀 😛 (Adapted from a popular Hindi Movie!!)

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//

NITK Chronicles – S01E03 – The room-mate

“I don’t need to pay a therapist to give me crap. I have a roommate that does it for free.” – #Katie Holmes

“Fire in the hole!!”

And I was blinded. By the time I recovered, Pratik had already assassinated me.

“When will you understand that you can’t win a match in Counter-strike cynically? Its a team game, and you should worry about your team-mates, mate!!” – I shouted, my nostrils flaring in disgust, having lost a game that was believed to be ours.

“Don’t blame the flash-bang grenade, learn to blame yourself! Haven’t you seen how Pratik plays? Why would you stumble when you have to show aggression? Don’t shout on me, curse your own skills!! You’re not the ‘C.R.’ when you play counter-strike, pal!!”, Anirudh bellowed.

……………

Anirudh and I had always wanted to be room-mates. Neither because we belonged from the same place, nor because we were in the same department. Those were the added incentives to something we strongly believed, “We are of same nature!”. By some co-incidence, our entrance exam scores were also supposed to be the same! We were compelled to think that nothing could be better than staying together.

Although, neither the hostel administration, nor the other boys, encouraged us! We were placed in different rooms initially, and after a few futile attempts in the hostel office, we had planned a plenty of exchange offers for our hostel-mates, whoever would like to help us. But, we had to give up after a week, or 10 days. No one was really interested!

We used to console ourselves, “Think if we were room-mates, we’d play counter-strike and waste the days. That won’t be wise, as we have a lot of assignments, tests and projects.”

……………..

Anirudh’s arrogant reply shocked me. I told him, “It was better that we’re not room-mates. That will cause some serious fight over counter-strike.”

Anirudh was downhearted. Reading it from his expressions, I quickly corrected myself, “But on the other hand, it would be endless fun, isn’t it? We, staying in the same room! Just, we’ll play the game as oppositions! Problem solved.”

There’s a proverb, “Rejections are nothing but re-directions to something better!”. Although, it has been false in our case. After we spent almost a month at the PG hostel, NITK – we got an unbelievable offer. My roommate and Anirudh’s roommate were now agreed to change places, making the two of us together. There were some other internal sliding to be followed, but neither Anirudh, nor I, seemed to care. I can visualize his face right now as well, the face full of joy, when he was shifting to my room, the room no. 145, with all his luggage and furniture (Yes, he brought a table and a chair, EXTRA, because his luggage was prodigious!!).

There are many remarkable events in history that seemingly changed many things which follow. Since the inception of the fact that Anirudh was my room-mate, some unforgettable events had to follow later on!

THOSE WERE, PROBABLY, SOMETHING WHICH WILL REMIND ‘US’ OF NITK, WHEREVER WE GO!!

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//

NITK Chronicles – S01E02 – The class representative

“A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.” – #Napoleon Bonaparte

“Leaders are meant to be audacious. Courage is what you should have, fear and shame are what you shouldn’t. Last week, I saw a few youtube videos on leadership. You should go through them. I know you were not really interested to take up the responsibility, but I just couldn’t contain myself. I really thought, at that moment, that you’d be the best choice – given the way you communicate with the faculties.

A…n..d…..y……o……..u………….m…………u…………s……t………….”

As Anirudh’s voice dwindled gradually, I woke up and cursed the wild alarm tone. As I turned it off and found myself laid on the hostel bed on a Friday afternoon, I tried to recollect the thoughts. For a moment, I didn’t find any clue what Anirudh, the only other Bengali in my class, was talking about.

“Friends, there has been a week since the first day we’ve met. I think its time we find someone as a C.R. among you.” – conveyed the H.O.D. after the class.

I was about to open my water-bottle, and someone poked.

Anirudh murmured, “I think this should be you. I have known you for quite a few days, and you seem the best choice to me.”

I replied, “Don’t utter this to madam. We’re not familiar with the class yet, and how can you decide that there is no one better than me. On other notes, I am lazy!”

“I didn’t mean that – I just said, you won’t make a bad C.R.”

“People who are interested please raise your hands!!” – H.O.D. asked.

…………..

There are certain moments in your life, that proves to be very crucial later. Although at that certain moment, most of us won’t have the slightest idea about the implications. Don’t know what was pricking me, but I fulfilled Anirudh’s wish. ‘My hands were raised’.

…………..

After the incident, new friends were mocking me around. They were asking some specific phone numbers from me as well :P. I was yet to go through all the ramifications coming in my way, but for a few days, I felt myself a LEADER.

…………..

A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. I got up from the bed and found the C.R. of some other department with a few questions about some formalities. While explaining him, Anirudh came to my room and winced at me. Being the hostel representative, somehow, he had made the fact viral that “Arijit is the C.R. of CSE and he knows everything. He is the P.O.C to all your queries!”

Knowing this later, I smiled and joked, “I can foresee the day when I am the the M.Tech representative, and I’ll be so popular in the campus!!”

Popularity was highly sought by someone else. He was Siddhartho, one other Bengali in the I.T. department. He was a bit envious of me in the beginning. 8-9 months later, there was a moment when Siddhartho was taking care of me. I was down with high fever, words hardly entered my ears and harder was the interpretation of them. But I won’t, ever, forget what he said –

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. Had you learnt this earlier, you were leading better days now!!”

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//

NITK Chronicles – S01E01 – The private beach

“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” – #NotMine 😛

I feel a twinge of envy sometimes, thinking about the people who don’t have a fixed abode, with their itineraries unplanned. But then, I am a home-sick! I remind the date, July 2nd, 2012. It was the day when I suddenly realized that I’m going to lead a hostel-life very soon, that too thousands of kilometers away.

My father consoled me, “Its a matter of only a couple of years.”

My mother added, “We’ll call you everyday, we’ll have video chats, you’ll be sending us messages as well. Time will pass.”

My friends joked, “You look grieved now but as soon as you go there, you’ll forget about us – having met the ‘South-Indian’ girls. Do you not watch the dubbed movies on Set Max every weekend – and haven’t you ever noticed how beautiful they are? Plus, you’re a Post-graduate scholar – you’ll have the whole B.Tech to flirt with.”

I was about to counter their logic but I suddenly heard a loud voice of someone unknown – and took a moment to realize that I was lying on the upper berth of Santragachi-Mangalore Vivek Express. I was appalled by the length of the journey.

Throughout my life, I have always tried being an early-goer – but evidently I made the opposite, every time! It had to be the same when my first ever journey to NITK ended with the train abruptly waiting for 2 hours at the Kasaragod station, 30 minutes away from the destination. Once I reached, I had to hurry to complete all the formalities as it was the last date!

My haversack seemed heavier under the Sun once I was done and came outside. Neither I knew a place to go, nor I had the slightest idea of what to do till I depart for the return journey at around 10pm. I was desolated, and was devoid of any idea. Silently cursing the weather, I proceeded towards the seventh block hostels – expecting someone to take me out of this dismay. I had heard that seniors might allow to stay in their rooms for a few hours.

I had a mixed feeling now – what if they rag? I was not in condition to entertain, but neither did I find any alternative. I entered the hostel with gusto. As I was wondering and looking for someone who might help, I found a few people staring at my devastated face. What happened next, was surreal!

“Are you looking for a place to stay?”, asked one of them.

“Yes. Will you please be able to manage a room for me for a few hours? I seriously need some rest.”

“Follow me. But promise that you won’t ruin the arrangement or cleanliness of the room. You’ll be getting an empty room.”

“I don’t know how to thank…..”

“Just shut up and follow me!”

I was relieved and followed him to enter an empty room, with both the inmates out-of-the-station to visit their homes. As soon as I took a bath and settled down with a novel I brought, someone knocked.

As I opened the door, the senior who did me the favour, asked, “Are you taking admission in CSE?”

I was dumbstruck. How did he know that? But I didn’t have the courage to ask. I nodded.

“Lets meet with two of your seniors. Come with me.”

I expected something bitter to follow, but I was prepared now to go for it. I won’t describe what happened in there. I’ll just say, I’ve never expected them to be so kind, answering all my doubts and queries about the college or about the department. I also came to know that the sea-beach is only 15 minutes far from the hostel.

“This is a private beach for NITK, isn’t it? It must be so amazing, right?”, was my question.

One of them replied, “It won’t amaze you that much if you stay here. But yes, it is the private beach of NITK, and is supposed to be the only private beach in a college campus in India.”

“Oh, is it? That is unbelievable! Would I find the gates open if I go now?”

“No, go after an hour. The timings are 5-7 pm.” – informed the other one.

Dear reader, can you imagine this? A whole sea-beach in a college campus, and that too, the only one in India! I was so amazed that I even forgot to bring my mobile along when I almost ran to it in excitement. Watching the sunset, the figures of the ships near the horizon, the light-house tower, things couldn’t have been better!

No other campus can be better, I thought at that moment. However ridiculous the thought might seem now, I won’t forget the apathy I had shown when I had seen numerous missed calls and messages once I was back the room.

I was yet to realize many things, yet to experience many situations, yet to meet my new friends, yet to start the two most important years of my career – but I had the only thought in my mind – which made me feel proud – over my friends who were seeking admissions in other NITs, IITs, or reputed colleges.

“My campus has a private beach!!!!!!!!!!!!Does yours have one, too?”

//All the characters used in this blog are fictitious. Yes, every single one of them, even I am imaginary! If you find any resemblance with anything, its your responsibility!//