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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Metamorphosis(Part 2) -Yesterday, Once More




Abstract: This post is a part of the series on Metamorphosis in our times and covers a period of the youthful days free of worries! I consider myself blessed to be born in an ebullient nation and to see the dreams being realized as a common man. Those who are interested in reading about the earlier period may follow the link


The skies thundered and the rain came down in torrents as I scampered to take refuge in the Admission Block, where I met Sanjeev. We both faced the similar dilemma of choosing between two premier institutions (St Stephens and DCE)! We finally paid the fees to join the professional college. I do not know if the decision was right or wrong but can surely say that I did what my heart pined for. I see parents of young toddlers these days in a similar situation, just after their siblings complete the play school. The brighter ones hold admission cards for three to four premier schools where as the mediocre children struggle hard to seek admission even in one school! So, now the competition starts that early! Welcome to the world of Gen Y and Gen Z!

Once in college, the life took a complete turn in terms of freedom. The initial days were tough as ragging by seniors was a routine affair much on the lines depicted in the classic ’Three Idiots’. In addition we were taught a bizarre ‘technical salute’ of sucking the thumb and jumping with a twist of body when in air, when we met our seniors!  The academic curriculum used to be very intense followed with lab/ practical training and workshops. In our entire batch of the graduation class there was a lone girl and used to enjoy the status of a ‘honey bee’! Anyone who could stand and chat with her for more than fifteen minutes was considered to be one who knew how to get along with girls as the majority of students hailed from schools where there was no coeducation. Also, the wide majority of students in the class were from middle class background that had to give up their seat in IIT as their parents could ill afford sending their ward to the premier institution (due compulsory hostel). Most of these students came from the family of at least four children at home. So the priority right from the word ‘go’ was to slog and get scholarship for the rest of the academic terms. Sanjeev was a state level player of lawn tennis and I too started to learn tennis from him at the hard courts in the college!

The only college where the fairer sex could be found closet to our institution was the Women’s Polytechnic, whose students were mostly considered ’behenji’s( a connotation for sisters) ! Those who were residing in hostels used to sneak to ‘cabarets’ once in a while, while the lesser adventurous ones preferred to the ‘bird gazing’ a happy pastime near Janpath in  Connaught Place, while downing cups of coffee at ‘De Pauls’!.

The students very rarely bunked the classes and whenever it happened, it would be a ‘mass cut’, a day of revelry, when one would rush to theatre to see the movies! Our favorite haunt was the ‘Chanakya’ theatre in the swanky Diplomatic Enclave area of Delhi. We preferred watching in the first two rows as the ticket was a mere 65 paise! We envied the students of other colleges where this phenomenon (bunking college!) was oft repeated and much to our chagrin we found the boys in company of pretty girls munching popcorns and enjoying movies whereas we were starved of the company of fairer sex. The farthest most of us could go was to strike a conversation with one of the girls in the University special DTC bus! Most of the times their interests waned when they learnt that we were pursuing the professional course, as we rarely had something interesting to talk about besides studies!

We had a nice cafeteria where we congregated in groups of ten to fifteen to discuss the political scenario like imposition of emergency in 1975 or the fate of the Indian cricket team in the ongoing series with West Indies or  Australia!. Sometimes the discussions would be about the sexual content of the movies like ‘Chetana’ and exposure of Rehana Sultan the starlet of the movie!

Commuting in capital was never easy as going to the college was generally by University special buses and return in a regular DTC buses which were irregular and provided the shoddiest service and were always crowded. The girls had to bear the severest brunt for which reams have already been written by so many in past.

I remember the feeling of elation which everyone experienced when India exploded the first nuclear device, had the first manned space mission and celebrated the first ever recorded war victory in 1971 leading to creation of Bangladesh and the hosting of Asian Games in 1982 when the color TV entered India! These were all major milestones in a fast developing nation that we witnessed.

The ruling Congress party got a drubbing in the year 1975 when Indira Gandhi was impeached by Allahabad High court and her election was declared void. The darkest period of Emergency for 21 months followed. There was censorship in press and media and every voice that was raised in protest was muzzled. Sanjay Gandhi, the son of Mrs Gandhi went about zealously with his cohorts in overdrive of sterilization campaign in and around Delhi. Notwithstanding this, the country’s population soared passed the billion mark!

Not many of us were smitten by love in those days! We coyly eyed girls and threw sideward glances but only two brave ones went beyond to find their ‘first love’ during college time and to marry them later. Most of us went through the rigmarole of seeing girls chosen by the families and then deciding to marry. This is a stark contrast from what is now seen in the increasing liberal attitude of the society.

Film Festivals in Delhi used to be a great event to watch the uncensored world class cinema! There would be a scramble for tickets and students would line up the counter in wee hours of the winter mornings in Delhi! The biggest reward was the two tickets one could get for a movie like ‘Siddharth’( starring Simi Grewal , directed by Conard Rooks) ,‘The Godfather’( by Francis Ford Coppola), or ‘ A Clockwork Orange’( by Stanley Kubrick). Each of these movies was a rage and some of them did not see the light of the day after the screenings on such an occasion.

Another exciting event was a visit to Panna, diamond mines, an excuse to see Khajuraho temples during college! The discussions that followed thereafter need a separate space and may invite censorship! We also went to Chandigarh to visit HMT factory in Pinjore and wound up the day at Sukhna Lake! My next destiny was almost engraved in stone that day when I along with another friend of mine went pedaling on the boat not to return for next two hours! Search parties along with boat owners were launched to find our whereabouts! We had taken a detour from the main course and soon got lost, bereft of the bearings! There was much rejoicing on the return of two adventurous sailors one of them (self) was set to join the Navy a year later! 

PS- Images Kind courtesy Google
       The last part of this series will feature the life in present times

64 comments:

  1. Rahul, these posts about getting to know all about you are very interesting.

    65 paise per ticket, that's super. Nowadays we pay around 280 on weekends and 160 on weekdays.

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    1. Rachna, you have been very kind and generous with your remarks! Yes, we used to make use of every penny those days:)

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  2. I loved the picture far more than the post. The post is nice as always.. bt the picture is amazing ;)

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    1. A big thanks for that very sweet comment, Madhulika:)

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  3. wonderful stroll down memory lane

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  4. Wonderful narration.Loved reading.

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    1. Thank you, Kavita and it felt good that you enjoyed the post:)

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  5. The post is wonderful...what year was this? 65 paise for a ticket sounds so cool...

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    1. Welcome to my blog! A huge thanks for that kind comment! I am referring to the period of 1972 till early 1980's:)It sure was cool and a steal to see a movie in best theater in 70 mm Dolby Music:)

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  6. 'Technical Salute'? Interesting!

    Here, in Chennai, we used to pay 81p. for the tickets and we had 54p ones too! Re.1.20 was balcony ticket!

    Chethna and Dastak were hot movies of those days...I haven't seen them yet!

    I remember Sanjay's social work! Illustrated weekly was highlighting his deeds. It used to be a newspaper shaped weekly and interesting...Kushwant was the editor! Alexander was the governor of Tamilnadu and people liked him and sort of appreciated emergency because law and order was under control, in those days!

    Yes, Siddharth was famous because of Simi Garewal, but we, children were not allowed to see the movie at home! Mom will see the movies first with her cousin and then take us if it was a clean movie!

    You joined navy later? Interesting!

    Thanks for reminding me too of the childhood days, Rahulji! Enjoyed reading this post! Waiting to read the next part!

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    1. Sandhya, you have helped in filling a lot of blanks in my post for which I am most grateful!I too remember, Illustrated Weekly, Blitz et. al. which were helped in mental enrichment!I saw the movies in the festival and they were real masterpieces, though, Chetna, Do Raha, Dastak are still on my 'to see' list:)Unfortunately in India even after more than 60 years of independence, we like to behave only when being pushed against the wall as was done in emergency era!

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    2. Sorry, I went overboard and wrote such a long comment. I couldn't control myself, I think. Thank you. This the best nostalgic post, Rahulji!

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    3. Sandhya,It was a matter of pride for me to see you react and read that beautiful remark! Honestly, it has added value to my humble post! Please accept my heartiest thanks:)

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    4. Thanks a lot to you too and my husband also joins with me! I ask him to read interesting posts and he read and enjoyed this post, Rahulji!

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    5. Once more thanks to your husband too who took time off to read! A comment like this is worth its weight in gold:)

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  7. Very interesting! Do you remember all those details or have you been maintaining a dairy :-)

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    1. Padmaja, I kept some sketchy notes when I used to travel which I did a lot! But these posts are just an offshoot of recollections! Thank you for reading these posts!

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    1. There is no way I can thank you enough, Zephyr for mentoring me! Thanks once more:)

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  9. Superb! I am loving this series! So nice to go down memory lane and dig out all the wonderful moments from them, a very beautiful nostalgic narration :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Arti, and it is nice that you liked this series:)

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  10. Recollection posts are among my favorites, Rahul. I loved reading part 1 and 2 and look forward to the third in this series. :-) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Vidya!A sincere thanks for having spent your time to go through both the posts and having liked them!

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  11. College days are so special. And, no matter which generation one belongs to, those days are nostalgic and filled with a sort of an innocence that is lost later once one plunges in the rough-and-tough world of work. Nice to hear about your DU days. My husband on our recent trip to Delhi took me to IIT where he studied. It was awesome when he showed me his "addas" and the mischief they did, the places they frequented mostly budget because that is all they could afford then, and so many other things. It was such a wonderful time spent that rounded up with a visit to his hostel.

    http://rachnaparmar.com

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    1. Indeed College days are one of the best times!I am sure you must have enjoyed your visit to IITD with your hubby as I was a frequent visitor to Aravali hostel where many of my school mates stayed while pursuing their studies. A big thanks to you for having found this write up interesting:)

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  12. Those days when every little thing meant so much!

    Loved this sneak peak into history via your reminiscences.

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    1. So true, Purba that little things meant so much in those times!I am happy you like this post:)

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  13. It's good to review that time through your eyes, I am always learning something here!
    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger
    Bloglovin'
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    1. Francesca, am honored with those kind remarks!Thanks a lot!

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  14. Great post. Love reading it.

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  15. I really can't tell you Rahulji, how much I loved this post. I didnot want it to end. Please tell me, there is a part 3 to this.

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  16. You made my day Jenny with those lovely remarks. Yes one more part will follow too:)

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  17. Sorry, I missed this line : 'The last part of this series will feature the life in present times'

    And those trignometry images were very funny :-)

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  18. Your college life looks like a scene from the 70s flick. I just loved reading it. And I am looking forward to your present life post as you have traveled a lot in that life...:)

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    1. I never realized that this post would elevate depiction to the status of a Bollywood flick:)Saru, I will have to edit my current post now to meet that expectation of yours:) A big thanks!

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  19. Gosh, I had no idea how tricky it was getting into the right play school! The memories of your college days sound like a snippet from a grand vintage Bollywood movie. It sounds so much more gratifying and unifying than the current campus situation. You make the whole movie-going experience seem like a wonderful adventure!

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    1. Thanks Sam, for echoing almost same sentiment as Saru in the previous remark!It is a great pleasure to have lovely readers and writers like yourself enjoying what I write!I think I will have to churn one more post on adventures of movie going:)

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  20. How things have changed. In Sri Lanka it was quite similar to yours in the 70s. But now things have changed so so much. I love the movie 3 idiots. I dont watch many hindhi movies but love this.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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    1. PAPS a big thanks for that sweet remark! Movies like 'Three Idiots' were universally liked and can you believe it was screened in Harvard Business School as a case study for the management graduates:)

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  21. What a story of innocence and change. Lovely.

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    1. A big thanks LadyFi for that kind comment!

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  22. Loved reading it .Its interesting and I heard some same things from my parents ,like :)

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    1. Very sweet comment Izdiher! A big thanks for liking and once again for the beautiful award given by you:)

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    2. Such nostalgic narration....DCE was at Kashmiri gate then..? Now I guess it has moved to Dwarka.

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    3. Thanks a lot Alka for liking! Right you are, it used to be in Kashmiri Gate in those days and has now moved to Dwarka! BTW your new profile picture is nice:)

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  23. Those were the days...thnx for taking us for a stroll down the memory lane.

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    1. Thank You Ria , for enjoying this leisurely stroll down the memory lane:)

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  24. I have so much catching up to do on your blog now that I'm back :)
    This post was lovely. It feels great to pen down the gone days, right? :) Hope you've been good :) Waiting for the next post!

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  25. Juhi, What a lovely way to start a new day to read such a sweet comment!You have been missed on the blogosphere and hope you had a nice break!I am fine, thanks a lot:)

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  26. thanks rahulji 4 those consoling words..and sorry for late reply.just returned to sharjah..am really touched..will stay connected:)

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  27. nice ..quite nostalgic,,lots to catch-up I guess but this post was quite interesting ,,
    enjoyed reading :)

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  28. Good to see you back after a while, Harman! Thanks a lot for those nice comments:)

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  29. A peek into the Lives and Times of the days gone by. Really nice to read and I'm able to see how remarkably different the society and the people of toady are!

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    1. Life is different in such fast changing scenarios Ashwini! It is like viewing a kaleidoscope:)

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    2. Really interesting. Particularly what you say about the professional courses. Today engineers come out by the kilograms and really there is nothing that they are probably good at -definitely a case of quality being compromised for quantity. I liked your comment about "honey bee"- my father who did his engineering used to say that they had never ever set eyes on girls during those days- they were too scared to approach girls from the better known colleges - LOL.. about the Behenjis!! I absolutely loved this phase.. a lot has been said and so simply!

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    3. Thanks a lot Meera for liking the post!Those times were so full of fun even with exams every Monday and sword of Damocles hanging on the head:)

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  30. You visited a mine also? I'm wondering what that was like.
    You got me curious about the discussions/the content that might call for censorship :).

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  31. A visit to diamond mine is very interesting but Khujaraho was even more interesting! Surely, if I write about the discussion following what we saw, would border on yellow journalism:)Thanks for liking !

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  32. I found your blog really informative. I think people should go through it. Thank you.

    ERP gujarat

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  33. Thanks a lot, Sondra for those nice comments!

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