Sunday, December 14, 2008

St. Stephen's College - my Alma Mater

Today, I attended the Old Students Reunion at St. Stephen's College. And I attended every single such reunion for the last ten years.

Each year, when I go back, the experience is of being transformed many years into the past, when I was less than 20 years of age, and not only studied in St. Stephen's but practically lived a good part of the day there. 

Today, like every other time, memories came flooding by. 

Of Rev. Rajpal conducting the morning assembly for the 1st year students, and reading excerpts from the Bible in his booming baritone voice and a clipped Cambridge accent. 

Of teachers - Bhatnagar Sa'ab  - MSB to most, Dr Popli who resembled Prof. Calculus - now no more. Mathur Sa'ab trying to convince our 'blocked' minds that Differential Calculus was actually very easy.

And Dwivedi sa'ab and his 'beedis'

Of chemistry practicals being conducted by us - budding scientists, in dirty lab coats with gaping holes created by careless handling of acids and salts. Being unable to analyse the salts given to us as an exercise and then trying to 'patao' the most reluctant lab assistants to give away the answers...

Heading to the the College 'Cafe' for the delicious mince cutlets and scrambled eggs with toast. Angrily shouting at 'Chhotu' the most harassed waiter to deliver our order quickly as the next class was about to begin..

Of taking hundreds of photos with a borrowed camera, then off to Chandni Chowk's photography market to buy photography paper and chemicals. And locking ourselves up in the dark room of the Photo Society just after dinner, to come out only in the wee hours of the morning.

Of the midnight coffee making session in the hostel room, with the help of a carefully hidden heater and saucepan. To be followed by the 'Maggi' making session at 3 in the morning, before finally going to sleep.

Of Winterfest and the Shakespeare Society productions. Designing and 'doing' the stage lighting in all plays. Climbing up and hanging on precariously to the tall and seemingly fragile ladders to reach and realign the powerfully bright '1000 Watters' and halogen lights hanging from the College auditorium roof...

Of Rohtas' Dhaba and the Nimbu paani and cigarettes and the credit account..

Waiting for the 3.30 and sometimes the 2.30 Moti Bagh specials, at the bus stop just outside College.

Of the so many friends with whom so many hours of one's life were shared but most now lost in the huge World. Some very dear ones having passed on...

It all came back once again today. But memories to be experienced and shared with no one but oneself...

Would have been a far more enjoyable experience if a walk down the corridors of College and the Science block was taken along some of the closest friends...

There's next December to look forward to.. 


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