September 09, 2008

Happy Days, Bits Pilani

Ok, I'll come clean. I am one of those weird people who googles names of old college mates once in a while, just for the heck of it. Not just the names of guys I had a crush on or best friends, even those that I secretly wanted to be like in college, those I had a fallout with, the studs (as we called them in Bits), the freaks, even the nobodys. I guess I am just curious at times to know how their lives turned out, after all these years.

And once in a while, along comes a movie like Happy Days and I feel nostalgic again, pull out my old photo albums, autograph books (how sad to see them die a slow death now that we can boast of always staying "connected" - I just realized am hardly in touch with the people in these fading photos who shared some of the most enjoyable years of my life!) and read the words I had read so often many years back (teary-eyed the first few weeks after leaving Bits).

Oasis (Cultural festival) and Apogee (Academic/movie festival) were the times I enjoyed the most. After coming back to Meera Bhawan, my wingies and I would talk endlessly about the actual events and of course about boys! There were times when we would rush to get seats in the campus cinema hall next to the fun guys. The unlucky ones among us got stuck next to the not-so-fun guys or girls :p. And then back in the bhawan we would get ragged for sitting next to so-and-so. Sounds so silly when I say it now but then it was a big deal!

And Tripping! Tripping, bitsian lingo for teasing you with a boy (girl), was fun especially when you got tripped with the right guy ;) My favourite tripping routine was to substitute names of my friends in famous movie songs and sing it loudly when they were in "kadalai" mode.

Ragging was fun at Bits, for girls at least! There was this one senior dude who made it a point to catch all the pretty girls multiple times until one of them fell in love with him (or at least that's what I thought his persistent efforts indicated)! My number was 3, which wasn't so bad considering he had ragged the two prettiest girls on campus 7 and 5 times respectively (When you are 16 you remember stuff like this for a long time) :p Then, there was this time DAV school seniors at Bits "caught" me for a ragging session and they were being nice and all but I was homesick I guess and I started crying and that made them really uncomfortable. So, they took me to Connaught (Bits hangout area - restaurants and such) and treated me to a strawberry milk shake and cracked jokes to make me laugh and accompanied me back to Meera bhawan since it was getting dark, which was all very sweet of them.

The other incident I remember well is going to Shankar Bhawan to get ragged! Bits had this weird custom where freshees got to go to one of the guys' bhawans to get ragged, eat a really good lunch with some amazing icecream and come back to Meera Bhawan to share those stories. So anyway, I remember that one of my well-meaning Meera Bhawan seniors called me the previous night and said, "Mosa, just wanted to warn you that you better be prepared for tomorrow. you are the only Illad girl going to Shankar Bhawan and those guys are all Illads but they are really nice guys..." (Illad = Tamil students, from "illada..."). I was pretty scared by the time I got to Shankar Bhawan with a few other girls. Those guys did turn out to be nice guys, although a bit intimidating at first. There were the usual questions about why girls don't get into IIT often if they are just as smart as guys and so on. And then at the end of the ragging session, they asked me to rate them on a scale of 1-10 :p I made the mistake of rating one guy 10 mainly because he didn't ask me too many questions and seemed the quiet, studious not-scary senior types. By the time I walked out of Shankar bhawan (and several months following that day), those guys would shout "10 pointer" whenever I passed through the Bhawan.

Another incident I remember vividly was getting caught with s~ by my school (DAV) seniors. I can't say I was entirely displeased considering I thought s~ was cute :p So, when the seniors gave him 2 options - propose to a cow or write a romantic poem and propose to the freshee, I was amused. I knew s~ was good at English but producing a poem on demand was tough for anyone. Anyway, s~ made a quick decision, plucked a blade of grass (it could have been a weed actually) and got down to his knees and recited this really sweet poem (Ok fine, it was kind of cliched but hey, try writing one on demand in a few seconds!). I think sometime in my third year, I asked s~ if he still remembered the ragging incident and he said he did and actually wrote that poem down for me, which for some girly, sentimental reason, I still save in my treasure box. Actually, it's in k's treasure box and he isn't exactly thrilled that I store my "proposal poem" (below) there :)

There were the tie-ups, breakups, misunderstandings that's typical of college life and I think we ended up being in two different gangs over the course of 4 years. There was this one time when someone spread the rumour that I was going "psenti" (steady) with a guy and several people offered congratulations before I could tell them nothing of that sort actually happened. The funny thing was one of the girls who helped spread the rumour eventually married the guy. Talk about coincidences!

You know how in movies, there are always these friends of main guy/girl who make it their business to advise guy/girl about their lives, I had a couple of those advice sessions too - "Mosa, you shouldn't do this..." blah blah. Which at that point I took a bit too seriously. In retrospect I had the most fun when I was just doing that - being myself! I know better now but that's what college experience is about, I guess. Sweet and sour. Oh! Did I ever mention my blog name is based on my Bitsian name, mosakutti ?!

Bits campus is beautiful, almost out of a movie but I never did get a chance to see Jaipur though. My parents were reluctant to begin with and the warden told them it was not a great idea, she would not approve of the trip but my parents could go ahead and give their approval in which case she won't stand in their way! And there was this guy in the group who suggested that he would talk to the warden in an oldish male voice claiming to be one of the girls' dads. We finally dumped the plan :p

I was in DOPY (Dept of Photography) for a year and then in Art & Deco but never managed to gel with the gang there. Always wanted to be a part of PTM (Pilani Tamil Mandram) and wanted to transfer to Comp Sci/Info that time, it was a big deal. I was pretty focused on switching my branch to Comp Sci. Never did happen though.

Half the fun of the Bits experience was in the long train journeys. I think of those GT/TN train journeys sometimes when I am searching for short story ideas...I assumed some dude like SRK would hold my hand (just like guessed it, DDLJ!) and pull me into the train. It did happen. Only the dude was a middle aged, pot-bellied sardarji (God bless him) who gave me a lecture on how educated youngsters these days don't have any common sense and that I should have gotten on to the train on time instead of running to get onto a moving train. In my defense, I did manage to step on to the train but one of my friends decided to use me as a lever to push herself on to the moving train :p

Sigh. Memories, memories. Like quicksand. You are in another life when you eventually pull out of it...

All in good fun.

Remaining stories through photos :)

Bhawan's nites (above) were fun. This is when guys get to invite girls as guests to their bhawan and vice versa. Usually a fun-filled night with cultural programs and great food!

I loved sam and chai at insti cafeteria. Especially after cutting classes. One of the bhaias captured in our group photo above.

Many a memorable moment spent at Meera bhawan mess (above). studies at Ref Li (reference library on campus)!

Crazy times in Meera bhawan (above)!

Gosh! I can't remember where we took this photo...somewhere close to campus, we had taken our cycles for a day trip there...

Yeah, the DDLJ craze still held strong those days :p

Another Bhawan's night group photo...sarees for a change :)

Holi @ Meera Bhawan

Dancing with the stars...

Sky (where most of the ragging sessions happened) with my first gang...

And here's the song that started it all for me :)

September 05, 2008

Flash fiction.

Short stories are hard enough to write, really short stories are even more challenging. I guess, flash fiction is about telling powerful, succinct, quick tales that leave an impact - a flash of inspiration!

Anyway, I gave it a shot for a competition. 500 words with a title hint. Didn't have much time to edit it since the deadline was pretty close:

Lakshmi writes...

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