Monday, April 28, 2008

Autobiography: Entry 3

IIT Delhi campus was a world in its own. There was a peaceful redundancy about the student life there. We resided at the locus of five most popular youth joints in Delhi: Vasant Kunj, Saket, Chanakyapuri, South Ex and Green Park. Priya was at our backyard. Then there were places within a mile - The Tankoos, Giasarai, Sasi, Nescafe, Ber Sarai, HFC, Surd Shop, Juice Shop, SDA, Munirka, Katwaria Sarai - not to forget our official restaurant outside campus - Mezbaan.

Campus life was simple. Attend 75% of classes. Study 4-5 hours before exams. Eat as much outside as much you can afford. Booze hard in parties. Play underarm cricket with wingmates. Chat with friends on any X, Y or Z topic. Watch latest movies through LAN. Enjoy AOE. Have fun.

The outside world was very different. Without friends and a familiar surrounding, I often found myself at a loss. It took some effort to get along with strangers. Then there were few people always ready with an exclamatory remark "You are from IIT Delhi !!!", followed by the puncture "Which stream - Computer Science?". I would have an urge to say "No Sir. Computers are out. Fabrics are in. So I chose Textile Technology instead."

It was so easy to go back to the comfortable hostel room and sit with familiar faces and laugh on total crap of a topic. Those four years were life. There was a degree of innocence in the first year that is equivalent to childhood. Then came adolescence in the second year with all the raw energy. The third year was more towards a strategic and planning side. The fourth year was dedicated to friends and fun before the death encapsulate us all.

I almost cried when I had to leave the campus with all my belongings on a sunny day of May, 2004.

When I came back to college two months later for convocation, the sense of belonging was over. I felt like a soul without body strolling on the grounds of a familiar campus that was no longer mine.

Monday, April 14, 2008


We cross the busy road, visit a nearby mall, watch an english movie at a multiplex, buy a luxury car and so on without noticing the rate at which things happen and change in India. Life is happenin@India and the people who actually appreciate it are the tourists. Seema, my cousin sis who came from UK after a long time, could easily perceive the difference. She was surprised by the huge multiplex screen with cosy seats available at less than a fourth price.

UK, where all the major problems of life have already been resolved, the country lives peacefully with its over aged population. In India the median age is 25. That coincidentally is my age also. So what happens here is that a young population struggles throughout the day and when it finds time to relax at night or on weekends, it generates euphoria. Unlike in UK, this celebration is not limited to discs or pubs. One can observe this energy in the bustling window shoppers, the mob at multiplexes, the families picnics at the central park and so on.

Things keep happening in India. Family celebrations on marriage, new projects at office, metro construction in the city, festivals, bollywood, elections, rain.....the list is endless. It all happens@India and I am proud to be a part of it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

a tale of two nights

Its 11 PM on Friday. I am with Navin, my cousin from UK. Our driver has just left us in front of the entrance to Elevate. We take the lift to fifth floor. Here come the bouncers. We try to negotiate. Elevate rules are strict. No stag entry. We keep negotiating for 20 min. No success. We go down. We are now thinking about Ice Cube or Tantra. Double whammy. Bars in Noida close by 11.30 PM. Bad start. Rajat calls up. He wants us to be at South Ex in 30 minutes. We take an auto. We are on DND when Rajat calls up again. He now want us to reach CP. He is talking about some F bar. We reach CP at 12 and there is nothing there. Damn Rajat. Now we will follow our own plans. We again take an auto, this time to Hotel Ashoka for Capitol, the famous disc. A beautiful crowd is moving into the hotel so we get into it too. They are all going to the new disc there - F bar and lounge. I have never seen hotter girls. Navin says if we bring our girlfriends here, they will love us even more. We find Rajat also. We dance till 3. Some girls who know Rajat's boss meet us. They are going to Agni, the popular disc in Park Hotel. We follow them. At 4 AM, we are standing in front of Agni trying to negotiate with the bouncers. They relent in 10 minutes at half the entry price. We are in Agni. We dance till 5.30 AM. Now everyone is hungry. We take seats in the restaurant of hotel. Its damn costly. We eat a decent breakfast. Now its time to go back home. Navin likes the idea to take a Metro. We reach home at 8 AM.

You are not amused. Well, then hear this.

Its the very next day. At 11 PM on Saturday, we start for GK2. We meet Rajat and a couple of his friends at Diva. We go to Smoking House, a disc. Bouncers again. We are four boys and a girl. Not possible. Only couples allowed. We try Kuki. Some old links work. We are in. It looks more of a student crowd. We dance and enjoy others dancing. At 3 AM we get a call from Rajat's boss. All of us are now planning to go to Agni again. This boss is with his ultra hot ex-girlfriend. We take a cab to Agni. We are again at the gates of Agni at 4 AM negotiating with the bouncers. This time we pay more. We dance till 5. Again we have our breakfast at Park hotel restaurant. I don't have strength even to stand so we take a cab back home.