Whenever I go back and think of my college days I too have many instances and incidents to remember. Of all them I think the birth of Kaalakoodam Dinapatram would be one of the best. It all started on a harmless and boring Digital Electronics class during the Fourth Semester in the amphitheater, where the hall was big and the teacher could hardly notice what students are doing and it was my dear friend Baburaj who came up with the idea. The idea was of starting a handwritten news paper, which will effectively be used to pull the legs of our classmates. We came up with made up stories and wrote it neat and legibly on a piece of paper in the format that newspapers follow. We had a proper heading, a symbol and the column wise organisation of the news. The stories we put up were targeting the class, the teachers and the college and was written in Malayalam. We followed the language format used most commonly by the Malayalam newspapers otherwise known as "Pathra Bhasha". After the first two editions Praseed got interested in it and he too joined the "editiorial board" to make it a 3 member team.
While Baburaj was instrumental in making up the story ideas, Praseed and I chipped in with the formatting and also the language. I did most of the writing on the paper, since other editors thought I had a better handwriting than them ;). Once completed, it was released to the class at the end of the hour or during lunch interval. Kaalakoodam became an instant hit. We never said who brought in the stories and it was always a Kaalakoodam Lekhakhan who wrote the news report.
After a few editions we started inviting entries for cartoons and jokes from other guys in the class. TP used to contribute with the drawings and cartoons. Bijoy, Rahmath, Jimson, Rajesh used to chip in with the jokes (otherwise called “cheelukal” in Engineering college terms). We soon realized that our bodies will not be in shape if we do not stop pulling other guys/gals leg. But Kaalakoodam was a paper which was bold enough to pull anyone’s legs and it never stopped making out stories or twisting out the stories and we never used to budge to the external threat we received from our own classmates. Instead what we did was to criticize ourselves and pull our own legs along with the others. Now everyone was happy.
Kaalakoodam used to appear whenever we had some stories and didn’t have any frequency. It can come the every other day or after a few weeks. Girls awaited for the issue with much of anxiety while guys wanted to kick us after the edition was released. Nobody could read where the next story came from since we could twist any story into anything. Soon the one pager became a two pager and once released the pages will be split and at different corners of the class.
Finally it was time to leave the college and so died Kaalakoodam Dinapatram only to be reborn as Kaalakoodam Online Edition. I started writing out this as a Word document using the Varamozhi Software during my free time in NITC and uploaded it to the Yahoo Groups Site of our class. There were a few issues with the Malayalam font and Anil helped me in creating a PDF for it, after I received numerous complaints about the problems in the font.
By that time people have been started working in different corners of the world and the news was mostly based on their transfers, on-sites and marriages. There weren’t any spice in it. It was left in the four walls of GEC. I never enjoyed creating the online edition as I used to do it in college. First of all there was no tension of doing it in the college hours while the lecturer would be trying to teach us something. And then most importantly I really missed Babu and Praseed's contribution in churning out the stories and presenting them in a better way. We were at different places having our own problems.
After a couple of issues of the online edition I had to move out of NITC and life became busier and so Kaalakoodam Online was laid to rest. This Vishu when I went home, I opened up my old file and became nostalgic when I saw the old Kaalakoodam Dinapatram (I sill have most of them with me). Then I realized it is time to start it up once again in a bigger and better way. With blogs being the order of the day and with so many classmates blogging I don’t think it will be difficult to start it again. Probably I need to organize the stuff a bit. Hope to open up a Kaalakoodam Blog Soon :)
P.S: The uploaded image is of the PDF Edition I released in November 2004.