Monday, 15 September 2014

Corridor Outside 301


From the bright white light of 301, I stepped into the dim corner of a long corridor on the third floor. There was no tube to light up the sports trophies and medals displayed on a three-racked glass shelf, surrounded by three white cobwebbed closed doors. In any case, students hardly gather around these. I turned right on the corridor where Joshikaka’s chair sat vacant sans the khakhi, facing the other way from the table --- turned around before stepping away. I walked past the well-lit Principal’s door --- the somber closed wood-paneled door making its weight felt, contrasting with the noisy stairs right in front, and its steady flow of students up and down. With bags of all kinds – packs on backs, document folders pressed in hands, mirror-work jholas slung across shoulders. The railing with its vertical bar-ends twisting up to form Ss continued walking with me after the stairs. There was more banter on the grey-netted chairs --- young boys and girls frequently referring to the noticeboard with the ominous heading of “Examinations”. A turbaned Sikh among the most vocal and agitated ones. A young lady speaking in Manipuri over her cell phone, dressed in salwar kameez complete with a dupatta --- not the usual get up for girls in the college, confined largely as the attire of the lady teachers. I went along the office where the gaps in the beige venetian blinds revealed staff members in their cubicles staring at their computers. A harried young man at the counter at the cashiers, probably paying his fees on the last deadline. A few more chairs and more students gathered around a black board, or shall we say, green board announcing the dates of the next college festival, generating a lot of buzz in a mixture of English, Marathi, Hindi and what not, including Kiswahili.

Yes I love the feel of student life --- the energy and enthusiasm of the youth, the romancing couples in the corners, people ambling in at half time and people rushing to classes – sometimes to the wrong ones at the wrong times, shouting your orders over the din in the canteen, caucus outside the gate around the lime juice seller, the exchange of notes between maushis and kakas… After a gap of fifteen years, I am thoroughly enjoying my stint, however short, as a tutee in an educational institute. If nothing else, I can claim my share of experience of being a student in India’s premier students’ city.

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