I have always maintained that National Institute of Technology Hamipur boasts of one of the most beautiful and serene campuses in the country. I have spent four most wonderful years of my life at that place learning what most believe was ‘Engineering’ but I think I was actually learning much more than mere Operating Systems and Computer Architecture – I think I was learning life. And what an illustrious company I had while doing that – friends and souls who were much better than what I would ever be (I agree there were some with whom I didn’t get along that well but that is long forgotten history); nature which would mostly be in her gentle self, showing the brighter side of the gift called life and a fairly benevolent and able administration ensuring that we have lesser nuisance and better access to basic resources.
‘Which seat?’ a radiant ‘bhadralok’ asked me some 11 and half years back.
‘Computer Science – NIT Hamirpur.’ This simple sentence booked me for four years of unbridled fun in a place which I had not heard of even a month back. On 16th day of August of that eventful year when I put my foot in that campus for the very first time, I was slightly nervous and mostly sad (as I had left my home for the very first time). Four years down the line while I was parting with the college for good, it was leaving the comforts of home again for some uncertain, uncharted journey.
And this journey remains engulfing – It seldom allows you to return to your roots. You tend to fight to regain your way of life but that remains out of reach for most – the best you could do is to reminisce those golden moments with a smile and, if lucky, in the company of a few friends. And that was what I did yesterday.
It all started at the marriage of Rohit. ‘You have to come or else be ready for the repercussions.’ You cannot take this warning lightly especially if you have missed the engagement party too. ‘I would bhai… Tu chinta na kar.’ I had said. Imagine my delight when I saw a score of friends, college mates adorning the baraat party. There were some who were in regular touch; others whom I had met here and there but not regularly and some who were hugging me after 7 long years. It was an emotionally charged evening and we had a ‘helluva’ evening courtesy Rohit’s act of marrying a beautiful lady. It also made us realize that no matter what is the distance and how much time had gone by since we last met, we would always be bounded by that special thread called NITH – the connect will always remain. I wished, ‘We should meet more often’.
It started with this small wish and culminated in a day of fun, frolic and nostalgia with good old NITHian fraternity. It was not an easy task and required herculean efforts from Vikas Jai Arya (a.k.a Vikas Kashyap) to assemble 9 gems of 2002-2006 batch - Vikas, Shashi Bhushan Gupta, Amit Mahajan, Arvind Mishra (a.k.a Tara), Sandeep Yadav (a.k.a Tau), Rohit Kumar (whose marriage started this process), Ram Kishan Kinker (a.k.a Ramu), Vivek Utpal (a.k.a Chunni) and of course me. Rohit and Ramu were gracious enough to bring their wives along.
And those who have studied in a residential engineering college would know what happens when such a group sits after a long time. It was amazing how we could recall those small incidents which otherwise were perceived to be lost in the sands of time. So, someone would bring in the topic of ragging; and the other would interject with his version of a hostel raid; someone would remember the epic ‘ghost stories’ while other would sprinkle the spices of love angles and the ‘ah-so-famous’ CC List; there were stories of individuals and groups; seniors and juniors; teachers and grades; Tilak and Babe ka Dhaba; fights and rivalries and all this with such love and affection that you would not need desserts for a week.
This small get together, for once, took us back to the good old days when you would not be afraid because there would be 240 guys to protect you; you would not mind falling sick because not only your health would be taken care of but also your assignments and projects; you would hop from one room to other just a night before the exams so that you could pass the next day; you would be teased by friends for some boy/ girl without any substantiated evidence and with all imagination; your assignments would be done in assembly line fashion; your room would be acquired by a ‘gang of hooligans’ for watching the cult classic ‘Gunda’ because you had a better speaker; you would be hijacked by your Tamil/ Gulti friends to watch a film in a language of which you did not have any idea at all; you would wake up and go to sleep on the diet of friendly abuses; and you would compete fiercely within but still remain a family at the end of the day.