The night has moved into its last yaama. Cool breeze flowed in through the window diagonally opposite my desk. The apartment complex has slept deep into their sweet dreams. Only thing that was disturbing the tranquility of night was the keyboard strokes of my laptop and Talat’s "Jalte Hain Jiske Liye", the only song in my Winamp Play List. I was on a Night Out, to complete the final report of my Dissertation Work. Rapid strokes on the MS Word Document, arrangement of the figures, copy paste of my own design documents were the order of night.
Then far across the table beyond the windows into the deep darkness of yesteryear's, I see a thin frame looking at me and smiling at me, with a tinge of mischief, in his usual style. He had finished the report long time back and now pulling my legs at me.. “Enthonnade.. Ithokke Nerathe Cheythu Theerkkande (What bugger.. Why don’t you finish it early?)”
The last minute rush on studies was always my trademark. I will think that I have covered a lot of pages, and then suddenly remember that I have missed out a few modules. But the “anonymous” thin frame, sitting across me on that noisy chair with his legs folded and both the hands on the chin, will be gulping the theoretical computer science or data structures, just by turning out the pages as if he is reading a Frederick Forsyth thriller. He always had charm of learning things quickly, something I always envied in him.
Then deep into the night another soul walks in, called PETTI, to finish of his final semester project. He advises me –“Da Dhanu, Ellam Samayathinokke Cheythoodeda..(Why don’t you do it in a timely fashion man)”? Petti was always a big time adviser, and still remains the same and the biker in me listens to that with attention. Petti Abhilash follows him into the room (he is Petti’s project mate and roommate and Trivandrum mate), and I am happy. My kind of man. Always on the edge, no fear for supplies, enjoy life to the fullest. I stop my reporting and start talking with him. Life, placements, cricket at Edgebaston*, love affairs, all unleashes hours before the exam.
Now the thin frame is upset. His concentration is lost. He quips – “Enthaade Ninakkoke Padikkanonnum ille (What? U guys don’t have anything to study?)” – and then he too joins the party. But bugger; only he knows that it is his break time. His marks at the end of semester never showed his displeasure in Petti and Petti Abhilash’s arrival. Then the thin frame walks into our opposite room, where a Padippist Sandeep and Omnipresent Shimmy will be toiling with their Strength of Materials and Drawings. He stands behind Shimmy, without his knowing, and tickles on his shirtless body. Shimmy gets a shock and jumps up.. “Enthu Maiii…..”. Once he disturbs their concentration he comes back and sits back on his chair and starts turning the pages of the Ullman** thriller.
Finally the last soul walks in, asks a lot of doubts about the questions that are coming in next day, asks what all he should cover, confirms if his preparation is enough, complaints about his illustrious absconding roommate and then joins our discussion about life, placements, love affairs, cricket and the end semester sentiments. When he leaves, I too join him for the night rounds. We first go to the first floor room of Maaman, Paappan and Thadiyan. If not playing computer games and analyzing sports, Maaman will be studying on the table on left side of the room. On the right side table I can see the outstretched legs of Thadiyan sitting on a chair nearby- an improperly placed lungi exposing his voluptuous thighs- studying with utmost tension. Pappan will be sitting on the side of the cot, resting his back on the wall, with a book on his left hand and a pen on his right hand whose trailing end is in his mouth. We disturb them; shouts follow, and move to the ground floor to disturb a studious TP – this attribute of him comes only on the eve of exams, otherwise he is a flamboyant character who once put our ever romantic Vikas in a soup – and his dear roommate Jimboli Kamsan. TP is reading through the pages as usual, trying to avoid a supply, while Kamsan is tackling the finite state automata with his usual sense of humour. "Mmmm Finite State Automata.. Avan Kore Ondaaakkumm… Eee Ullmaanonnum Veettil Oru Paniyumillenu karuthi enthumakamennanno… (Hmm Finite State Automata. It will be something. If Ullman doesn’t have any work, does that mean he can do anything..)”. Somewhere from the obscurity Baburaj joined and then our local boy Abhilash too. We talk about life, placements, cricket, love affairs and end semester sentiments and retire to our own rooms to continue the big struggle.
“I” am back at my desk, with my report being full of mistakes, chapters not in order, and no proper summary and conclusion. The mind doesn’t stick and is still wandering on the corridors of C- Hostel, where during exam times our studies where incomplete without hours of volleyball games and corridor or common room cricket. Those late night outs and the frantic last minute preparations only made e complete. And in this MS course also, I couldn’t be myself without those. If the current university allowed an improvement exam at Rs 10 per paper, I would have happily wrote even those too. Thankfully a supply came in the way, but the cost I had to give for that was really huge. A semester down and close to 18,000 rupees extra.
Hail GEC, Hail University of Calicut, Hail C Hostel, and Hail Batch of 1997-2001.
Today we celebrate the completion of 11th year of our togetherness.
* - A local ground in our college which the Electronics Guys named as Edgebaston, remembering the English Ground
** - An author of a book on Theoretical Computer Science