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Memories of Midnight

I had two choices – two forks on the road. Either do a chronological flashback which is simple and effective or we can do in spurts and jumps. The latter approach is more unpredictable, flexible and anyways who wants a life story to be told like a Standard Operating procedure. Life ought to be open and free – even as a story.

September 1995
That’s the year I became eligible to vote although I haven’t used that eligibility in the 12 years thereafter. Anyways – this was the time when I was in Engineering college in Kopargaon – in my first year!
So we’d been getting ragged for more than 3 months now. It was time to break out. We were sore at having to wear stupidly formal clothes all day long. Freshers from Delhi especially were ragged by one and all – it’s the national capital yaar.
We weren’t permitted to converse with the female of the species, of which there was a drought in any case.
So the 18th birth anniversary was planned with care. The guys piled into our room A1-307 at 5 minutes short of midnight. A1 was the Freshers hostel and 307 was our room for 4 on the 3rd floor. There were 4 of us – Nikhil, Ankur, Vivek and myself. (We bummed out Vivek at a later date – another story sometime). Suddenly I started experiencing HIGHs & LOWs rather abruptly. This was followed by loadsa kicks on the rear end – some with shoes and some without. Then the clothes vanished – yikes – this was ragging all over again.
The hostel rector suddenly turns up at our room. I’m wearing a few stitches, there’s Nikhil wearing a slacks with his underwear on top (ala superman). There is a pin drop silence till I start smirking, Nikhil explodes in laughter and suddenly all of us are in splits at the whole situation. The poor man just stares at us, hen fumes and asks for our identity cards. We continue laughing but no cards are given. Outnumbered 30 to 1 – the poor man vows to take it to higher authorities and we almost stop laughing then. But like I said – ALMOST!!
He stomps off in disgust and the festivities resume.

This noisemaking always remained a sore point with the local students through the 4 years. Those poor sons of the soil just never learned to enjoy life – and we’re not talking about money shortage here!
We outsiders – as they called us, topped the classes as well as the women. 99% of the local females weren’t worth hitting on anyways. So our girls were Outsiders – mostly!
The few Mumbai women were exempt from this local classification though.
The locals – we referred to them as GHATIs for their attitude as also for the fact that they were residents of the land of the WESTERN GHATS.
These dudes relied on local firepower to make their points heard. But they never really had the guts to really put up a fight. It was simple – the ay fighting equations changed. All the groups from different states of North India had their differences – but always came together to combat the GHATI menace. Yes – I may be guilty of being a bit of a racist here. But even the professors and lad attendants always favoured the locals over the others. Must be the water they were drinking!!
My Last name – MAHAJAN is also a popular Maharashtrian name. Hence with my defence background and claims of being a son of the soil – everytime a VIVA VOCE was scheduled – I made my bunch of hay!!


Sups said…
true - the poor hostel wardens would threaten that our actions would hve the most dire consequences, despite which we would undeterrd carry on our masti

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