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Monday, November 4, 2013

Days of Thunder - Part II

Read the first part here

It was our final year in the college and we were a part of the elite group of species called ”seniors”. It was time for ragging. And by ragging I mean all we did was ask our juniors their names and that too politely.

It was time for college elections. Compared to other colleges our college elections were a low key affair. Class representatives were elected and then those representatives would choose the college leader. I was unanimously elected as the college leader. My college principal Rekha and Nanaiah called me into their chamber and requested me to step down as college leader. The reason was that a college leader would have lot of responsibilities and I being a science student would find it difficult to manage it along with my studies. I kept nodding in agreement thinking how mistaken these lecturers are about me studying all the time. I agreed and a guy from commerce was elected as the college leader.

But in return Rekha appointed me as the rotary club president. That was a blessing in disguise as I got a chance to participate in a 2 day camp organized by the rotary club of Mysore. The camp had students participating from various colleges across Karnataka and I got a chance to interact with them. We indulged in various activities like Para-sailing, rock climbing, trekking, camping etc. That was undoubtedly my best experience till then.
Post that the Rotary club of Madikeri arranged an evening party in the town hall where I was supposed to brief the members about my experiences in the camp. I prepared a very good speech explaining all of my experiences and dedicating the last paragraph praising my college Principal. I delivered the speech confidently and I could see a of lot Rotary club members appreciating my speech with my Principal. She called me later to congratulate me and told that she was very proud of me.

The first half of the year had gone by and mid-term exams were staring at our face. It was Biology exam and I and Naresh while walking towards the college saw a new adult movie was showing at the movie hall. The posters looked titillating and we both planned to watch the movie once the exams are over. We informed about the movie to Lijesh who decided that we bunk the exam and go for the movie. Both I and Naresh didn’t agree to bunk the exam but agreed for the movie if Lijesh could get up and submit his papers within the first 15 minutes and leave the exam hall. Lijesh agreed while I thought it was not possible at all. It was a government holiday due to Bakrid but our college was functioning courtesy to the exams. The invigilator was from the arts department and started distributing the question papers and the blank answer sheets. The first 10 minutes went off with me trying to understand which question paper was it. I was about to start scribbling down something when I saw Lijesh getting up from his place. I looked at Naresh who was also equally surprised. Lijesh went up to the invigilator and gave his papers. The invigilator asked “what’s the matter? Why did you get up so soon?” Lijesh said”Sir, its Bakrid today. I have to go home for Namaaz”. The invigilator asked ”What’s your name?”. Lijesh said ”Mohammed”. Both I and Naresh started laughing whereas the other students looked on confused.

Lijesh came near the window from outside and whispered to me that he would go and buy the movie tickets and I and Naresh should be at the movie hall in 10 minutes.

No sooner did Lijesh leave; both I and Naresh got up and gave away our papers saying “sir, Bakrid”. Even before the invigilator could ask our names we dashed out of the exam hall. We were laughing and running out of the college building. For some reason I turned back and saw Devaraju and Nanaiah looking at us with disgust and with their hands on their hips. I told Naresh ”Shit, don’t look back. Nanaiah and Devaraju are looking at us”. Naresh said” Don’t worry. There is nothing that Devraju can do. He can’t deduct any marks since we have not written a single word in the answer sheet”.

Meanwhile a love affair had bloomed between Nandini from our class and a guy called Madhusudan from the commerce class. Both this Laila and Majnu would sit and chit chat to eternity oblivious to all other students staring at them. Slowly this guy started to come to our class during free hours and sit in the last bench and talk with her. "This is heights" said Lijesh. "This rat has started to enter the lion’s den". Naresh said”Ha ha ha .. you call yourself a lion? Lion of the rat world!!!”. Lijesh immediately got into damage control mode.”Hey I mean we all are lion’s here. Isn’t it? Now let’s concentrate on them”. I said “somehow we should expose this love affair to Kasturi and she will take care of the rest”. Lijesh asked ”How?”. I said ”May be we can write an anonymous letter to her regarding these two”. I just said that but I never meant it.

After 2 days in the Kannada class Kasturi was explaining a lesson about how a king desperately tries to woo a queen. And she said “We have such people here in our college who are desperate for each other”. Saying so, she asked both Nandini and Madhusudan to stand up and started to insult them. Both I and Naresh looked at each other confused about how Kasturi got a wind about their affair.

I looked at Lijesh and he gave me a wicked smile. After the class when I asked Lijesh what he had done, he said “I took your idea seriously and wrote a postcard to Kasturi explaining everything about these two lovers. Now let me see him entering our class”. Naresh said that this guy is impossible.

Some of our lecturers were in a meeting, so we had a half day class and were free to go home. Since my mother would make me to study the moment I reach home, I suggested to Naresh that we go and play cricket and return home at our usual time. Lijesh was absent that day and so I, Naresh and Nandish went to the ground and played for couple of hours and returned back to our class. Since we still had another 2 hours to go we decided to finish lunch box inside our classroom which was empty since others had left for home long back and then leave around 4.

Now they say ”empty mind is a devil’s workshop”. We ourselves being the devil, anything around us were our workshop. I took some of the chalks and started writing some crap on the black board. Slowly the writing got raunchy to outright dirty and before I knew, I had written a shit load of crap on the board.

Naresh was laughing loudly appreciating my writing skills like I had written some thesis on sex. It was 3 PM now and the adjoining class had Kasturi’s class in the last hour. I had closed the door to make sure that Kasturi doesn’t see us. But that proved to be a big mistake.
Kasturi upon seeing the closed door felt suspicious, came in to check and saw that we 3 were having lunch. She screamed at us asking what we were up to. We said that we were having lunch and about to leave for home. She again screamed that we should close the door and should leave for home if we don’t have any more classes. She just turned to leave when her eyes fell upon the black board. She started reading what I had written all over it. I could see her expressions changing with every sentence she read. She turned at us and asked who wrote it. We out right denied writing it. I even went on further to say that somebody had written it before we came into the class and we were about to wipe it when she came in. She yelled at us to stop our lies. She went near the door and asked some other teachers to come and see what we had written.

Some of the teachers were laughing and saying that these guys know biology better than the lecturers. Kasturi had caught a big fish in the net and she was in no mood to let go of it. She marched us to the Principal’s room and told the whole story to her. Principal asked us who wrote it but we denied that we were involved in it. She asked the college peon to lock up the classroom and asked us to write something in a register near her, so that she can cross check our handwriting. I wrote in a very peculiar manner to make sure my handwriting didn’t match with the one on the board. She said she would call the forensic experts to the college to find our finger prints on the chalk lying in the classroom.

She asked to leave for the day and come back tomorrow prepared.

I and Naresh just didn’t know what to do and what to expect tomorrow. We thought that we can go to the college in the night, break the lock and wipe the board clean. But we were already in deep shit and we didn’t want to screw it up further more.

I couldn’t sleep the whole night and kept wondering if someone has cursed me. Ever since I came here I end up with trouble all around me. I prayed to god to set things right and I would just study hard and stay away from trouble. But I guess even God also was in a mood for entertainment.

Next day when I and Naresh entered the college campus lot of students were staring at us, some giggling, some smiling at us. I realized the issue had spread across the campus. We stepped inside the college building and saw that our class was still locked and our classmates were standing outside. The girls gave me such a disgusting look as if they had seen a jet black pig drenched in the worst smelling shit. Many students would peak inside the window, read my thesis on the board and tell me “Super, super writing”. It would make me laugh but soon the smile would be replaced by a worried expression at the thought of what’s going to happen next would haunt me.

Classes for other sections resumed as we (including my classmates) stood outside the classroom for 2 hours. I just went to answer nature call when I saw a guy in formals and holding lot of files entered our college. Thinking that he might be the guy from forensic department I rushed back and immediately asked Lijesh to go and check. Lijesh came back saying “He is no forensic porensic inspector. He is a courier guy”. My heart heaved a sigh of relief.

After 2 hours the Principal came down near our classroom with her battalion which included a lecturer from arts department, our physics lecturer Siddaraju and some more staff along with Kasturi. It looked like Hitler was coming down with his soldiers to throw us in to the gas chambers.

Siddaraju called me and Naresh to the center of the corridor as other students looked on from their classrooms. He asked me “who wrote it?”. Even before I could answer me he gave me a tight slap. I felt like a iron rod fell on my face as I turned around 180 degrees. Even before I could realize what happened he gave me another slap on my other cheek. My head was completely dizzy as other students looked on in complete silence. I just leaned against the wall until I regained my senses.

Next was Naresh turn as he got slapped twice just like me. Nandish was spared as everybody knew he was just at the wrong place with the wrong guys.

The Principal then ordered her peon to open the classroom as I and Naresh were marched inside the classroom with the rest of the lecturers. We both still denied that we had written it. The principal now fuming with anger threatened that if we didn’t accept our mistake, she would inform the police and make sure we are rusticated from the college. But I and Naresh still kept saying that we didn’t do it.

Devaraju entered the class and without even looking at the board even once started saying that he is 100% sure that it is my work. I was thinking ”Hell man, at least look at the board once before you give me the credit”.

At this point the arts department lecturer took me and Naresh to a corner and said “Look, if you have done it, accept it. Else she will blow this issue out of proportion. Just accept it, get punished and finish this issue right here”. I looked at Naresh face and then accepted that we had done it.

The principal took out a bamboo stick and started whacking me and Naresh left and right. I didn’t know which was more painful, the bamboo stick beatings or the embarrassment. The principal also hit Nandish saying that in future he should never mingle with us. 

The principal asked me to take out my hand kerchief and wipe the board clean. They then left not before throwing some more curses and abuses at me and Naresh. Finally our classmates were allowed to enter and our classes began.

“Lucky for me that I didn’t make you the college leader” the principal fumed as she left.

I remember I sat in my bench the whole day with my head bent down. Many of my friends from other class came during the break to cheer me up saying that all these incidents do happen and that now I am a college hero but the embarrassment was so much that I just kept quite.

After we were done for the day I just walked back to home quietly, kept my bag in my room, put up a smiling face in front of my mother and wept profusely in the bathroom. I didn’t know why I was crying. Was it because I was forced into this college, was it because of all the troubles I got into in the last 2 years or was it because now I was scared that there were more trouble to come. But all the time Kasturi’s face kept coming in my mind as she kept laughing like Mogambo at me. My heart started to fill with vengeance. I swore on the tap, mug and bucket in the bathroom that I would have my vengeance in the worst possible way.
But still the embarrassment was so much that in the coming weeks, I would just sit in the class and didn’t even go out for breaks. Kasturi would give us a taunting smile at us in her classes indicating how she had screwed us. We started going to the highpoint regularly every evening as Naresh and others would keep cracking jokes there while I kept hatching multiple plans in my mind to teach Kasturi a lesson for her life.

Once when we were seated at the highpoint and enjoying some smokes, we saw Devaraju walking down the college road with some people. Lijesh who was high now asked if we wanted him to throw a stone and break Devaraju’s head. But Naresh kept looking “Those people with Devaraju look familiar”. I looked at them but couldn’t recognize. Naresh all of a sudden ”That looks like.. Oh my god.. That’s my father. When did he come down here from my native? And that’s my brother-in-law. Shit, I am dead. I am gone. I don’t want to go home”. I consoled Naresh saying that he has to face this and there is no way he can escape. With a heavy heart Naresh said bye to me as he entered his home.

Next morning I saw Naresh was waiting for me near his home. As soon as he saw me told me to move and not wait for him and that he would explain everything in the college. I was waiting eagerly for him to know what had happened at his home. Naresh entered the classroom and sat next to me and didn’t speak a word for an hour. After that slowly he started to narrate how his father had actually cried in front of him saying that he is so sorry to have a son like him. His father was also told by Kasturi that a guy called Ponnappa had actually spoiled him. His father had asked him to stay away from me. I was so shocked wondering that everything came on me now. I am the guy who is spoiling everyone around here. This further fueled the fire inside my belly for revenge.

Naresh said ”All this is because of that Kasturi. I will set her house on her fire. I will stone her to death”. I asked Naresh to control his volume as his voice could be heard by our classmates. I told him that we have to wait for the right opportunity.
Kasturi had indeed drawn first blood.

Our college was selected to host the annual district level competitions which meant that students from different colleges across the district would participate in various competitions like art, singing, mono acting etc. Kasturi was made in-charge of the complete programme. Lijesh was also participating in mono-acting competition.

The night before the competition I lay in my bed thinking what I could do to spoil the competitions tomorrow and get a bad name for Kasturi. My heart wished that I could throw a bomb at her. “Bomb!! Yeah bomb. That’s exactly what I am going to do!!”. An idea had occurred to me.

I quietly tip toed out of my room to the pooja room making sure I didn’t wake up my mother and got a packet full of Agarbathi’s (fragrance sticks). I had lot of fire crackers in my room which were leftover of Diwali festival. The plan was to make time-bombs. I spent half the night tying up crackers to the bottom end of the agarbathi. The idea was to keep the agarbathi wherever we want the fire cracker to explode and lit the agarbathi. The agarbathi would take at least 5 minutes to burn and reach the bottom thereby triggering the fire cracker. Thus I call it time-bomb.

I got up early in the morning like a man on a mission. There was a smile on my face and a determination to do something today. I had a goal to achieve today; I had to get my vengeance.

I carefully packed all those time bombs inside my bag and left for the college. Upon reaching the college, I quickly explained my plan to my band of boys. Surprisingly most of classmates offered their support to me saying that Kasturi ought to be taught a lesson. Only I, Naresh, Lijesh would place the bombs in different locations inside the college whereas the others would mingle with other students here and there and keep their eyes and ears open for any information if we had to abort our mission. We band of boys looked like a bunch of brave Indians soldiers planning to sneak in to Pakistan and kill Dawood Ibrahim.

The chief guests for the function were some dignitaries from our town as well the district level educational officer. Kasturi was busy with the arrangements ordering her followers of ass licking boys to run errands. The stage for the function was set inside the Gokhale hall (Auditorium).

As we were surveying the college looking for suitable locations to blast our time-bombs, there was a commotion near the Gokhale hall. We ran near the hall and saw the educational officer himself slapping couple of arts students. I enquired with some of my friends as to what had happened and they told me that those arts students were playing WWF inside their classroom breaking some benches. Upon hearing those noises the educational officer himself ran near the class and caught then red hand and ended up slapping some of them looking at the damage they had done.

I told my group that this was good for our mission as now everybody will suspect the arts students behind the time-bombs.

Initially we placed some bombs near the college compound with their blast sound echoing throughout the college. Then slowly we started blasting around the buildings, inside empty classrooms, labs etc. I saw Kasturi had a worried look on her face and so did the other lecturers. We continued blasting the bombs till lunch. Then I told Lijesh and Naresh that we should make an impact before going for lunch.

Lijesh said that he knows the exact place and asked us to be the near the gate while he completes his mission.

After 5 minutes he met us near the gate and asked us to just wait for 5 more minutes. Lo and behold within 5 minutes the time-bomb went off with a thundering sound and lots of girls screaming near the ladies rest room. I looked at Lijesh and he said “Yes, I put it in the girl’s rest room”. I saw Nanaiah, Kasturi and a host of other lecturers running to console the girls. The word had spread that the educational officer was very upset with what was happening in our college. Our mission till now was successful but I was not done yet.

We returned from lunch and continued with the bombs here and there. Pretty soon the lecturers gave up since they couldn’t find who was behind this and quietly continued with their competitions.

There was one hour left for the competitions to come to an end. I gathered my band of boys and said that now we will do the impossible.

And what is that?” asked Lijesh.

“I will place the last time-bomb inside the Gokhale hall” I said.

“What!!!!” Everyone said in chorus.

“Yes, that’s what I am going to do and I need you guys to help me.” I said.

To my surprise everyone was up for the challenge.

I asked Lijesh to take everyone along with him and stand around the lecturers pretending to enquire about the competitions thereby blocking their view. At the same time both I and Pradeep will place the bomb in the last bench in the hall.

As planned Lijesh and the rest of the guys went and stood around the lecturers enquiring about the mono-acting finals timing and I and Pradeep went and sat quietly in the last bench. After 1 or 2 minutes I slowly took out the time-bomb and fixed it at one end of the bench and lit it. Slowly we both got up and were walking out of the hall when I saw some girls occupy the same bench.

“What now?” asked Pradeep.

“When the mission is big, some sacrifices have to be made!!!” I said.

We signaled the others to come out and all of us sat outside the hall in full view of lecturers as innocent bunch of children.


A deafening sound came out of the Gokhale hall. Most of the students ran towards the hall. I saw the girls who sat on that bench shivering and shit scared while smoke came from one end of the bench. Lecturers looked on stunned as they couldn’t believe that somebody had the guts to blast a fire cracker inside the hall. And as for Kasturi, she was almost in tears.
The educational officer got up from his seat and gave an earful to Kasturi and other lecturers, saying that the students are behaving in such a manner because their lecturers are weak and clueless.

That was one moment I was waiting for. I wanted to see somebody humiliate Kasturi in front of the whole college like she had done to me. I had my vengeance.

Nanaiah came and ordered all the boys to get out of the campus and the rest of the function would go on with just the girls inside.

We walked towards our highpoint with some bakery stuff to enjoy. We sat there like kings overlooking our Madikeri town as our kingdom. Madikeri looked very beautiful that day to me.

Later we came to know that due to the fire cracker incident, the district level competitions for the next year would be held at a different location.

We had our exams in the month of March and apart from me and Rohit, rest of the guys had flunked.

And out of 24 girls only 11 managed to clear the exams.

Our college got the lowest pass percentage for that year in the whole of the district.

2013 – At present
Lijesh is happily married, has a child and runs his own furniture showroom in Bangalore.

Naresh got married recently and works as a software engineer in I-GATE.

Prasanna is also married and works as an engineer.

Ashfan is happily married and works as a break inspector in RTO of state government of Karnataka.

Pradeep is also married and works as a technical trainer in Chevrolet.

Raghavendra is married and works in a bank
Naresh still doesn’t like to talk about his brother Nandish.

Even though it’s been more than a decade now, every incident is still fresh in my mind bringing a smile on my face every now and then.
 Pic from 2007
From Left - Naresh, Raghavendra, Ponnappa, Ashfan, Lijesh & Prasanna.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Days of Thunder - Part 1

 "Whatever happens, our children should never study in Coorg".

I have heard my parents saying this innumerable times during my childhood.

Coorg is a district in Karnataka and Madikeri is its headquarters. Madikeri is a tourist destination and basically a agriculture based town. Coorg is famous for coffee plantations and its cool climate.

But Coorg wasn’t famous for education. It didn’t have a single engineering or medical college until 2002 and had just one or two reputed PU colleges. Most of the students opted for arts and indulged in all kinds of non-educational activities in college.

My father being a state government employee got transferred couple of times in a span of 5 years. Tired of packing and unpacking all the time, my parents without thinking twice decided that me and my mother would shift to Madikeri for my PUC and father would stay alone in Jog (Shimoga dist) until I finished my 2 year PU course.

Now PUC holds a lot of importance in a student’s life as it decides whether we are going to be engineers/doctors or ‘chaprasi’ (according to my father). My parents had the same expectations from me except the college they enrolled me didn’t exactly churn out engineers or doctors.

It was a sixty or seventy year old government College with a typical age old government building style structure. The classrooms were huge with tiled roofs and the roofs were about 15 to 20 feet high. It also had a tiny fan hanging from the roof 20 feet above. I never saw any switch for this fan and really wondered what purpose this fan served and who managed to put it up there. And there was a constant fear that it would fall on someone’s head someday. The college had science, commerce and arts branch and also a government high school attached. There was no toilet for boys and we relieved ourselves behind the college canteen amidst the bushes.

The arts branch was flooded with students about 80 in each section. Commerce was second with about 60 students. And then was our class had a strength of 35 students which comprised of 11 boys and 24 girls.

The college was about 3.5 kms from my home and I used to walk both ways. The college term started in the month of June and it happens to be the time when monsoon begins. When it rains in Madikeri, it rains like hell. And the rains are accompanied with heavy winds. I used to get drenched everyday while going to the college and sat in the class in wet clothes. By evening the clothes would be dry from my body warmth. Again I used to get drenched while coming back to home. Of course I had an umbrella but with the way the wind blows there, it served very little purpose.

The thing I hated the most about the college was its uniform. A white shirt and khaki pants. We looked like municipal workers on duty gathering the town’s garbage.
The first few days of the college were uneventful as I was getting adjusted to the place as well as the college.

Eventually I started to bond with some of my classmates of which Lijesh and Naresh became my best buddies. Lijesh always sat in the first bench and his reason was that first bench students are always considered studious by their lecturers. This guy had done well in his SSLC exams and had scored well. But he was from Kannada medium and hence he was finding it difficult here in English. He was short and very lean. He looked like he was floating in air when he walked. He always had an expression on his face like he had seen something funny. We used to pump him up a little bit and he would do anything we asked. Always up for notorious activities.

Then we had Prasanna who was a pure Brahmin and always looked down upon us as if we were demons. 

There was Ashfan who was a good cricket player. 

Then there was Raghavendra whose worst curse was ‘Goobe’ (owl) and unfortunately that became his name. This guy would keep staring at some random black mark on some wall for 15 minutes and would call it as meditation. Every day he used to come to the class and tell us that he has finished so and so chapters in so and so subjects and give us creeps.

There was Sudeep who was named ‘BAKAPAKSHI’ because he bought so much of rice for lunch which was enough to eliminate hunger from Somalia.

Then there was the psycho Appaji who had a complete unpredictable behavior. He always used to get angry at the drop of a hat.

Then there was Nayan, Rohit, Pradeep and Naresh’s brother Nandish.

My normal day would start with me leaving home around 8 in the morning and reaching Naresh home with in half hour not before getting completely drenched in rain and cursing my father a million times for getting me here.

Naresh along with his brother Nandish stayed in a rented house along with their brother-in-law who was a biology lecturer in the degree college. I would sit in their hall watching the activities of these 2 brothers. Naresh would take his pant out from the cupboard and throw it on the dining table from the bedroom. Then he would iron the pant irrespective of the way it has landed. He would have multiple creases on his pants. At the end of our first year his pants had become like Newton colour disk courtesy to the number of chemicals he accidentally dropped on his pants in the chemistry lab.

His brother on the other hand would just sit in a corner and keep reading some text book. Meanwhile something would start burning in their kitchen and none of them would be worried. Finally when I start screaming at them to check, Naresh would walk casually into the kitchen staring at his brother.

In those 2 years I have never seen both the brother’s talking to each other even once.
On the other hand their brother-in-law was another sample. He was a perfect example of “Absent minded professor”. He had done his PhD on biology and was a lecturer at the degree college. I met him several times at his house when I used to go there to pick up Naresh. Once while returning after our classes, when we reached Naresh place we found it was locked and his brother-in-law had taken the keys to college. Since the college was near my home I told Naresh that I would go and inform his brother in law to come home soon. While walking towards my home I saw his brother-in-law coming from the other side. I went up to him and told that Naresh is waiting for the keys. He immediately took 2 to 3 steps back as if I was trying to mug him and asked me who am I.. I was totally shocked. I told him I am Ponnappa but he just stared at me and walked off. The next day I told Naresh what happened in the evening and he laughed and told me that his brother-in-law does not recognize him sometimes as well.

Our classes would start at 9 AM with physics usually being the first period. It was handled by “Bodybuilder” Siddaraju. This guy was quite young and hence his testosterone levels were very high. He would eye every girl in the college and thereby inviting our wrath. He knew that we were observing him and hence he hated us. He being young would explain things enthusiastically to capture our attention whereas Lijesh would look at us and comment “why the fuck is this guy so excited if the photons get attracted to something???Photons are his relatives or what!!!”  After passing such comments Lijesh would keep a straight face whereas I and Naresh would giggle and Siddaraju would warn us that someday he would slap us both.

We had Devraju Sleeping agent for biology. The specialty of Devraju is that he can put anybody to sleep with his lectures very easily even people suffering from INSOMNIA. It’s not that he didn’t teach well. He was a very dedicated lecturer with sound knowledge about the subject, yet it was impossible to stay awake in his classes. I used to be so fresh before his class and after his class but that one hour of his class was equal to 50 sleeping tablets. I would constantly drop my pen on the floor, so that picking up the pen would serve as an exercise to keep me awake. But if the pen keeps falling down throughout the class, any lecturer would get suspicious. If I didn’t drop my pen then I would constantly rub my face or try to write something to keep myself awake but it was just impossible.

For math’s we had Lingaraju. This guy looked liked he just came out of a bar completely drunk. His eyes were always red, voice very low and his response to external stimuli was very poor. He used to react after 10 or 15 minutes. This guy unknowingly would extend his classes 10 or 15 minutes eating into our lunch break. Lijesh seated in the 1st bench would turn around and scream “what time is it!!!” and sit quietly like an innocent child. Both I and Naresh would start laughing and our lecturer would stare at us.

We would keep our watch 15 minutes ahead for his class so that he would leave early. Once we kept our watch 30 minutes ahead and this guy left our classes early. He realized that when he went to staff room and saw the wall clock there. From next day he would check the time only with girls. But after couple of days, upon our request, even the girls would keep their watch 15 minutes ahead so that this guy would leave early.

In the 1st year for English we had Ms. Sony. She was a very pretty girl and we loved watching her. None of us ever bunked her classes. She wore a little bit deep necked blouse for her saris. So Lijesh would push the chair under the table before her classes, so that when she bent down to retrieve the chair we would get a nice look of her cleavage. She understood our trick after sometime and then would just pull the chair using her leg without bending. The girls of our class would constantly keep saying “chee chee” at Lijesh while he was up to his tricks.

In the 2nd year English was handled by Mr. Nanaiah. This guy had some genes related to Nazi since he always behaved like Hitler. He was very particular about dress code, discipline etc. He had very good opinion about me and always used me as an example in the class, until a “small incident” changed his opinion about me completely.

 For chemistry we had Srilatha. This lady’s husband was a professor in the degree college. She always used to mug up every chemistry equation and vomit it on the class board. The funny thing was in midst of the class she used to forget some equation and then start searching them in the book. The expression on her face (She acted like she knew them but just wanted to cross verify) always made us laugh and that would make her very angry.
And finally for Kannada we had Kasturi. I can’t predict the exact age of this woman but I believe she was from the dinosaur era as she behaved like a t-rex dinosaur. She looked old, was short and stout, and wore thick spectacle glasses. This woman was hated by the whole college for her pathetic nature. We hated everything about her and ditto with her. She had this art of connecting any topic to sex and waiting to see our reaction. If a girl and a boy talk with each other and if she happens to see them, then that topic would be raised in the class and both of them would be insulted badly by her.

Nayan was selected as the class representative in the first year. We were having a free hour when one of the seniors entered our class and said that he was the college rotary club president. Anybody interested to join the club should give their names now to the class representative and also 5rs per head. He stood outside the class as Nayan started taking down names. I stood up and said that I wanted to join the club for free just to tease Nayan.
Immediately the senior Sanaullah entered the class and said “who the hell said that??”. I stood up and said it was me and I said it for fun. He started to scream at me in front of the whole class and asked me to come along with him to the principal chamber. I was astonished that this guy was reacting like this for such a simple comment. As we were on our way to the principal chamber, we met Kasturi mid way and this guy started to complain to her. She said that you should have given him a tight slap right there in front of the whole class and taught him a lesson. I was completely astonished that a lecturer was advising a student to slap his junior. That was the beginning of my hatred towards her.

For Kannada both the science and commerce class was combined. Lijesh was very good in Kannada and hence earned Kasturi’s praise. This guy would close his mouth with both his hands and chant loudly saying ”Hello hello check hello 1 2 3”. This kind of sound in a room with tiled roof would echo in a very peculiar way. Kasturi would immediately loose her cool and start screaming at the commerce guys (Since guys from science were considered to be good). The commerce guys would be completely confused as to why this woman was shouting at them. After some days they realized it was Lijesh who was doing this. They complained to Kasturi and in turn got proper scolding’s from her because she didn’t believe science students could be mischievous lest of all Lijesh.

Once when we were walking back to our class after finishing Kannada classes in commerce classroom, we saw Nandish pant was completely scribbled using a ball pen. We immediately went back to commerce classroom and started a fight with the guy who sat next to Nandish. That guy pleaded innocence but we were in a mood to fight. After a lot of pushing, cursing and threatens, we returned to our class and started to wonder how could somebody not realize if his pants were being scribbled by someone. Naresh who all the time was not convinced about commerce guy doing this, asked us to check Nandish’s pen. We checked and found that half the rifle was empty. Naresh said that it was a new pen which Nandish got yesterday. We all realized that Nandish kept scribbling his pant with the pen all the time during the class without realizing the cap was not on the pen. We realized both the brothers were from different planet.

Meanwhile I started talking with a girl from our class called Reena. Since that was our first college life going after a girl was mandatory to look cool. After talking to her couple of times, we exchanged greetings for New Year. I stole a greeting from my mother’s cupboard which she had purchased for her friends. But the girl took lot of pains and gave me a handmade greeting she had prepared herself. I saw that when she went back to her bench, her friends were very curious to know the contents of the greeting and my friends were so proud of me as if I had just landed from a spacecraft after touring around moon.

Our town Madikeri had just two theaters which I guess were built immediately after independence. The screens had dirt which even Surf and Ariel combined will not be able to clean it. The speaker system was such that for dialogues the front speakers would keep working and suddenly for songs the rear speakers would work. Add to it number of power failures stopping the movie n number of times during a show. Both the theaters were located very close to our college. And the best part was that one of the theaters would play adult movies in the morning show. We (I, Naresh and Lijesh) would bunk our biology labs every Saturday and run towards the theatre to catch the morning show. Lijesh would go inside the theatre to buy the tickets whereas I and Naresh would stand 50 mts away from the theater near a shop pretending to buy something in case if any of our relatives were to spot us.
A bell would ring inside the theater indicating the show has begun and I and Naresh would make a quick dash inside the movie hall. The audience would be just 3 of us, lot of Tibetan Buddhist monks and some sex deprived labourers. We would be extremely cautious while coming out of the movie hall as well and would quietly head back to college to pick our bags. Once when we 3 bunked our classes and were dashing towards the movie hall, we saw some 20 to 25 students running after us. We just stopped thinking what these guys were up to. These students just ran past us and we started following them. All of them ran towards the movie hall to catch the morning show. We decided to stay away from the theater that day because it was brimming with guys in our college uniform. The disease of watching morning show adult movies had quickly spread across the college and we were the reason for it.

We used to have chemistry practical labs once a week. The lab was poorly lit with 3 rooms out of which one was where we did our chemical mix up and the other was for the faculty and the third room was a store room with lot of test tubes, beakers and other chemistry lab equipments. It was a common rule in the lab that whoever broke any test tube will have to buy a new one from the market and replace it. 

So while Srilatha (Chemistry lecturer) would be out, we would attack the store room to collect spare test tubes. Sometimes in our struggle we broke lot of test tubes and from that day the storeroom would be locked forever.

Srilatha was couple of months pregnant during our first year. Once when we were done for the day and were stepping out of the lab, I screamed “Meowwww” near the door. Srilatha lost her cool and started screaming at us thinking that someone had made fun of her pregnancy. I thought that I was screwed this time looking at Srilatha’s face turn red with anger. Whole night I kept thinking why my stupid little actions turn into huge disasters. Next day I requested my friends not to mention my name to Srilatha. All of them agreed to keep their mouth zipped and were ready to face any kind of punishment.

Next week when we entered the lab, Srilatha summoned us into the faculty room. We boys stood in a straight line. She asked “who was the one who did that sound last week?”. All of us were quite; my heart was beating fast thinking what would happen if somebody opened their mouth. But everybody gave her a blank look. She asked us to get out and told us not to attend any chemistry until we come up with the accused name.  That’s all what we wanted. All of us headed towards the playground and started to play cricket. This went on for few weeks and finally we realized that we would suffer later. So we decided that we would just stay at the lab whatever happens.

Srilatha once again asked “who was the one who made that sound?” All of us kept mum. She asked us to get out but we didn’t budge. We stood there for 2 hours as the girls continued with their experiments. Finally Srilatha asked us to wash all the equipments in the lab and said we could start our labs from next week.

Whenever our classes ended for the day sooner than the scheduled time we would walk down the college road cross the center of the town, take some stairs and reach a high point overlooking the town. From there we could get a good look of the town below and also the road leading to our college. It was a secluded area and we would enjoy couple of smokes there. We would watch students walking down the college road and keep talking non-sense.

The Hindi super hit movie “TAAL” was now showing in one of the theaters in Madikeri. We all were excited even though it was good 4 months since the movie had released. We bunked our classes in the afternoon and went for the matinee show. The movie hall was flooded with students from our college as well as students from the degree (senior) college. We managed to get some seats and settled down. The show was about to begin when Lijesh said he would go out to get some soft drinks. As Lijesh reached near the door, we started to scream some nick names of his. Some degree college students seated ahead of us thought that we were teasing them. They started to threaten us but the show started and they sat down. It was interval time and lot of students gathered around us asking how much guts we have to tease degree college students. We had just started to explain that we didn’t tease them when SLAPPPPPPP!!! One of them slapped hard on Naresh face. We were just 3 and they were about 30 to 35. We continued explaining them that we didn’t call them names. The post interval show started and I knew that we would have a dressing down once the movie is over. So we voluntarily went to them and explained that we didn’t tease them and we didn’t even know them. And then we left the show mid way to escape their wrath.

The term was coming to an end and we were busy with our labs. It was a Saturday and I was busy in physics lab when Prasanna came running to the lab and said that Reena’s father has come to college and is in the principal chamber. He added that he looked very angry. My hairs stood straight and heart started beating so hard, I could almost listen to it without stethoscope.

My future started to play in front of my life where I could see my father beating me black and blue. My friends suggested that I stay in the lab and leave a bit late. After sometime Reena’s friends told me that her father has found the greeting card I gave her and he was searching for me. And add to that her father was in the police department. I felt that all this was happening because my father got me here. I left the lab late and was walking slowly towards home thinking what will happen if her father arrives at my home? How will my mother react!! What will I do?? Run away from home?? Where to run and how to survive??? I was lost in my thoughts when I heard a biker honking excessively at me. I turned back and to my horror saw it was Reena’s father. He stopped the bike and asked if I am Ponnappa. I said yes my voice barely coming out. And then it was just a one way communication.

Who the fuck do you think you are to give my daughter a greeting card? What is your plan? You want to spoil my daughter? Why the hell do you come to college? Is this what your parents have taught you? I will break your hands and your legs you asshole and then I will see how will give a greeting? Where is your house? Take me there. I want to see your parents.”

In between his indiscriminate abuses and firing I would mildly keep saying ”sorry uncle” but that would be drown amidst his abuses. I kept looking here and there praying to God that none of my relatives should come by that road else am dead.

He kept screaming at me like his daughter was way too innocent and I was the culprit.
My daughter comes to college to study and you are trying to play with her? I will take you to the police station now and keep you one night in lock up. Then your senses will start working”.

All of a sudden he put his hand in his back pocket. I was wondering what this guy has got when suddenly he pulled out a tiny knife which is used to peel fruits. I almost laughed looking at that knife. He started threatening me that would kill me even if he has to go jail.
“You rascal, shameless fellow. You are laughing at me”. I kept saying sorry but it was quite difficult to keep a straight face looking at that knife. Finally he got tired and gave me a final warning that if I ever go near his daughter he would kill me.

Once he left I stood in the same place and surveyed the whole area if anybody has been watching all this. It being a Saturday afternoon there were almost nobody on that road and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Slowly I walked towards my home looking back all the time if he was following me.
We finished our first year exams and the results were out. Nayan had flunked the exams whereas the others had cleared it.

Read the second part here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A day in God's own country

Most of my friends when they got married, I observed there was a sudden change in their attitude. They wouldn't attend most of my calls or wont have time to meet us or join for road trips or even spend time with us over a drinking session. I always wondered what marriage did to these guys until I got married. I am not saying marriage is bad. Its just that guy's like me who never have any schedule to keep up with or any commitments find it little bit difficult in the first few months to adjust. Hence even I had a "sudden change in attitude" like every other guy.

Unlike earlier now I just couldn’t pack my bags and leave for a trip. I had to make sure that my better half also had offs at the same time and she was also willing to come for the trip. In this juggle I ended up missing some road trips with my friends. All I do now is to click ”LIKE” on their road trips photos in face book.

Things have now got so worse that my friend Deepak has started writing blogs and expect me to edit it and publish it on my website. So the below story is in Deepak’s words about his road trip to God’s own country – Kerala.
Read on!!!!!

I have been to road trips many times, but this is the first time I decided to pen down my experience since our official blogger couldn’t make it to the trip. This trip shall always be remembered for the uncertainties and surprises it had to offer.

Initially our road trip was planned to Hampi, which is around 340 kms from Bangalore. Due to various reasons, many members of our group could not make it to the trip at the last moment. From 8 members, we were now only 3 of us which included Ravi, Shivu and me. We dint want to go to Hampi since we have been there before and I dint want to cancel this trip at any cost.

After lots of discussion about where to go, Ravi came up with this place called Alleppey (Kerala). This is also called as Alappuzha. Alleppey is about 600 kms from Bangalore and July being a rainy season; it was raining like hell in Kerala from past 10 days.

Shivu was little hesitant at the beginning to come for the trip citing that the weather would destroy the trip and I was worried about Ravi being the only driver. Even though Shivu and I could drive, we were damm sure Ravi would not allow us to drive. Add to this we being only 3 of us, budget would also go up automatically. We had to rope in someone who could mingle with us and share the budget.

Ravi suggested one of his colleagues Vinod, I agreed straight away.

Our trip was planned for the weekend. Going and coming back to Alleppey in 2 days would be a tedious job, so we mutually  agreed to take a  extra day leave.  Finally after lots of confusions, we were set to go to Alleppey for 3 days. 

We all gathered at Ravi’s house on a Saturday morning. After our customary vehicle pooja we started at 7.00 am from Bangalore. It was bright and sunny day Bangalore traffic was pretty nominal. We had to pass silk board and take Salem Kanyakumari Highway (NH 7).
The roads were well maintained and Ravi was speeding at 100 to 120 kmph. Shivu insisted Ravi to take a break for breakfast. We went to hotel called Anandabhavan after Hosur.
 Ravi wanted Rava dosa, waiter gave some explanation about it in Tamil which none of us could understand. We only understood it’s not available and changed the menu. 
We all placed our orders, which were served pretty quickly. Only Shivu’s order was due to come. Shivu was waiting for it while the waiter came up with the final bill. Shivu was very angry; waiter apologized for the confusion and told would get the order quickly. But Shivu felt that the waiter did this on purpose and decided to teach him a lesson by cancelling the order and staying hungry. Ravi and I just smiled at each other about this incident. We paid the bill and continued our journey. 

Being rainy season, there was greenery everywhere. There were some great views on either side of the road. 
After some time I started pulling Shivu’s leg about the breakfast incident. Now hunger had made him humble, so humble that he accepted it was foolish on his part to reject his order. Now he started begging Ravi to stop at some hotel as he was very hungry. We all laughed about the incident and stopped near a hotel again. Shivu got his fill this time. Seeing Shivu eat, Vinod also felt hungry and ordered some more Dosa’s. After some resistance I also joined them. For the first time in my life, I was enjoying Dosa’s so much.

Looking at us, Ravi ordered we finish this dosa fest fast. We had wasted lot of time and had lot of distance to cover. None of us dared to waste any more time. We paid the bill and continued our journey. Ravi made it very clear he won’t be stopping anywhere until we reach Coimbatore.

(We didn’t have to go to Coimbatore city to reach Alleppey. We have to take a deviation towards Palakkad in the highway itself)
 Ravi had to go to Coimbatore to meet a friend.  We reached Coimbatore in about 7 hrs from Bangalore.  Compared to Bangalore climate, Coimbatore was pretty hot. Ravi met up with his friend and together went to a nice restaurant for lunch. Ravi’s friend ordered almost everything in the menu (Chicken, mutton, fish & eggs).  

After a grand fest, Ravi and his friend were fighting to pay the bill.  It was not good on our part to make Ravi’s friend pay our bill.

Shivu and I paid the bill and thanked Ravi’s friend for the nice restaurant and started our journey backwards from Coimbatore to Palakkad. Once we reached Palakkad, there was a drastic change in the climate compared to Coimbatore. There was cool breeze and it also started to drizzle. Weather Conditions were just perfect for a road trip.  We were very happy about the climate and thought maybe this is why kerala is called Gods own Country.
I requested Ravi to stop here and there to take some photographs. We had heard about road not being great from Thrissur. Due to heavy rains there was water stagnant everywhere, but without traffic and good scenery to look at we had nothing to complain. I thought to myself I don’t mind the roads being this way as long as we have such views to look at. Little did I know our nightmare was yet to come!

After reaching Thrissur, traffic increased due to heavy rains and also road repair work going on here and there. At one junction because of some reckless driving from Kerala bus drivers and bad road condition, we were stuck on road for more than 2 hours.
Shivu and Vinod lost their cool and started to control the traffic. Somehow we managed to get out of that jam after 2 hours of frustration. In the mean time Ravi called his friend in Alleppey and informed him that we will reach late. Shivu and I felt like having a drink, but didn’t dare tell it to Ravi, since he had to drive. After reaching Kochi, we were little confused about the route to Alleppey. We asked for directions and we had to travel 60 more kms. Ravi told us its better we parcel our dinner as we may reach Alleppey at 10 pm. I was just waiting for this. Ravi and Vinod were in the car, while Shivu and I went to get the food. We ordered our food and in the mean time took 2 beers. We both decided we won’t tell it to Ravi. We were about to take the first sip when Vinod and Ravi entered the Pub. Ravi was expecting this from us but he was kind enough to sacrifice his drink. We 3 finished our drink in no time, took our parcels and continued our journey. We finally reached Alleppey at 11pm.
Ravi’s friend took us to our rooms. Looking at our faces, he told us take rest and will be joining us again in the morning to take us to the Boat house. More than tired, we all were desperate for a drink. The enthusiasm for drinking is something that has always increased over the years. We ordered for 4 glasses and started our drink. I had bought a Bacardi from Bangalore; we drank till we finished the bottle and slept peacefully.

 Next morning someone was knocking at our door. I checked the time it was 7am. I felt too lazy to get up and open the door, so pretended to be asleep. I was waiting for Shivu to get up and open the door. Shivu too dint look like he was going to get up, maybe he was expecting me to get up and open the door. Ravi started shouting; he was the one who was knocking on the door. Finally Shivu managed to move his ass and opened the door. Ravi was now fuming saying that he has been knocking on the door from 10 minutes. Listening to Ravi scream at Shivu, I got up and sat on my bed before he could say anything to me. Looking at me Shivu was surprised that I was awake and yet dint bother to open the door. I gave him a smile and told that we are birds with same feather, hence we flock together.
We all got ready, finished our breakfast and were waiting for Ravi’s friend to take us to the Boat house. Ravi’s friend didn’t make us wait, he told us to take all our belongings as we will be halting in the Boat house that night. I asked Ravi’s friend to explain in detail about the Boat house. He told us we will be boarding Boat house at 11am today and staying there till next morning 9.30, they will provide us lunch, dinner and breakfast. In case we need anything else, we can buy it and they will cook it free of cost.

I asked him about the liquor arrangements, Ravi’s friend told us we will have to buy it before going to boat house and he will take us to the liquor shop. I now felt satisfied. We headed straight to the Liquor shop from our rooms. Ravi remained in his car as there was no parking place.  Shivu, Vinod and I were discussing what to buy. We went towards the shop. Looking at the shop I realized it’s a Government shop and we won’t get good brands. There was a Queue to buy liquor at morning 10. Shivu and Vinod were quite surprised. I told them Karnataka is the only place where you get 2 to 3 Liquor shops every road and here this might be the only Liquor shop in entire Alleppey.

We decided to take beer and stood in the queue. Shivu went to the counter and asked for 20 bottles. The shop keeper looked at Shivu and gave a weird look and said only 5 bottles per person. This time I was surprised, I dint know there were restrictions to buy beer. Shivu took his quota of five, behind him I took my quota of five and told Vinod to buy his quota. In the mean time we will keep the bottles in the car and come back. Ravi and Shivu were arranging the bottles in the car. I came back to the shop to help Vinod. Vinod was arguing with the shop keeper, I asked him what is wrong. Vinod told me the shopkeeper is saying that we have taken too many beer bottles and won’t be giving us anymore. I thought what the hell is wrong with these people as we are not taking anything for free of cost. I told Vinod to buy something else, and he somehow managed to take half bottle of Vodka.

The people standing behind Vinod in queue were throwing tantrums at us. Vinod gave them back a mouthful. We kept all the bottles in our bags carefully and reached the Boat house. We parked our vehicle in the parking area, took our luggage and went to the Boat house. They welcomed us with a welcome drink and told us to keep our luggage in the room.  

I started keeping our entire luggage in one room when the boat boy told me I can use the other room also. Initially I thought we 4 will be accommodated in 1 room and there will be other guests in other rooms. But that was not the case; it was a 2 bedroom boat house and we were the only 4 in the entire boat. I felt really happy and super excited. We thanked Ravi’s friend for the arrangements and our boat started to leave the coast. We all kept moving from one tip to other tip of the boat like mad dogs. I kept taking photos of almost everything. We went for the boat ride in backwaters of Kerala. There were boathouses everywhere to be seen. It was evident this was one of their main business here. Vinod asked the boat driver how many boats sail in this backwater. The boat driver gave an astonishing figure of 800 boats. We were taken back by the number he mentioned. Ravi asked the area of these backwaters, Boat driver mentioned it was around 250sqm.  
Ravi called us all saying he has an announcement to make, I was wondering what he would say. Ravi started we need not pay anything for boat house or the rooms we stayed previous night. I could not believe my ears; I just kept blinking at Ravi. Looking at me Ravi said “yes, you heard it right, we need not pay anything. Everything is arranged by my friend. We have to give this boat people good tips”. Shivu and I started dancing the next moment, we were so happy.
Our boat was heading to some shore and our driver informed us, we can buy fish if we wanted to and they will cook it for us. We thought we have nothing else to spend on and ended up buying 3kg fish for 3 of us. Vinod was vegetarian.

We had nothing else to do apart from eating and drinking. There were 2 things that were bothering me. First my Camera was low on battery and I had left the charger in the car. I now had to be very selective with my photographs. Second I knew we dint have enough stock of alcohol to last till next day. Especially when you have Shivu and Vinod for company and given the location and time we had. It was almost a matter of life and death for us!
I asked the boat driver if we could buy some alcohol from anywhere. The driver said that is not available here. But if you guys want you can try the local drink Toddy (made from coconut). I thought something is better than nothing and told the driver to take us there. We took about 3 litres of Toddy and I borrowed Shivu’s Iphone to take Photographs. 
We were also lucky to witness Kerala’s people practicing for their traditional game called Snake (boat race). This happens every year during Onam. 115 members participate in each boat. It was a sheer joy to see their enthusiasm and spirit.  
We had a very good time doing nothing. Our boat cook would serve dishes whenever we wanted them to. I for the first time was drinking Toddy. Ravi & Vinod had tasted before and Shivu dint like it. Our boat was halted at some place at 5.30 in the evening for night stay. They don’t sail the boat after this time because of fishing nets put up by fishermen.
We got down from our boat and sat on the coast. Our legs immersed in water, making fun of each other, sipping beer and watching the sunset. This was the most relaxed evening of our entire trip and I enjoyed every moment of it. 

After it got a bit dark, we returned to our boat. Food was served hot and spicy, our drinking session continued till late night.

Next morning when I got up and opened my eyes, our boat was sailing which I could see from my room window. I could hear Shivu, Vinod and Ravi talking outside my room. I freshened up and joined them for breakfast. Our Alleppey boat ride was almost over. We were taken to the main coast after our breakfast.  We gave the boat guys good tips and went straight to our rooms. After freshening up, we left Alleppey at 11 am. 
We returned to Bangalore at around 1 am. We thanked Ravi for the sponsorship and also for taking all the pain in driving to and fro from Bangalore to Alleppey. This was the most relaxed road trip I had in a long time. We had no places to cover or any schedules to catch up. Anyone planning a perfect 3 day Road trip from Bangalore, just to get away from their hectic life, then Alleppey is definitely one of those places.