9 floors down the memory lane : JUIT

I have been wanting to write about my alma mater JUIT since a long time. I would have written this piece much earlier, only if I had enough motivation or the right words. Recently on a free wasted weekend, I loaded my photo collection DVDs from college and spent a good time re-living the moments. That sorted out the motivation part, words came instinctively. This post is a slightly longish read, hence I recommend reading it in your FREE time aaram se and if you ever make it till the end and like it, please do share it with the ones who were a part of your grand journey. Our grand journey. :)

9 floors down the memory lane

I see clouds. Lots of clouds.
Embracing the mountains like lovers cuddled up together.
You can't tell one from another.
I am mesmerized. Awestruck. And yes, terrified.
This is how it started.
A journey of four years that I would later remember as the best four years of my life.

I enter the hostel 15 at JUIT. It is newly built.
The smell of dust, cement and dry paint fills the void that silence creates.                                                                                           
It is a long walk down 9 floors to my room.
I arrange my luggage, and meet some people.
They are at the same podium, as nervous as I am, as open as I am.
Misery finds company, we become friends.
A lot has been said about being bullied and ragged by Seniors.
Not that it isn't unexpected, still the fear is overwhelming.
We go for meals to Junior-Mess in groups.
Passing through senior hostels, ever aware of the watchful eyes upon us.
We try to ignore it. Look away. Try to camouflage.
Nobody is spared.
A tender hand comes around the shoulders and whisks me away into the slaughter houses.
Inside the room, a flock of predators has gathered to enjoy the show.
After one hour of dancing, cussing the fan, loving the wall and all along trying not to laugh, or cry; we're freed.
Angry. Shocked. But relieved. Ragging isn't that bad after all. The fear subsides a little.

It is 8:50 AM. I'm having tea at the tuck shop, having thrown out of the class again.
A new found joy sweeps in upon hearing the magic words these days : "get out of the class".
It means getting the chance to soak up the morning sun. The sun feels nearer in the mountains.
It also means not missing breakfast that day.
We are sitting in the Mughal gardens. Copying the assignment for Microprocessors class.
Academic block stands tall as if mockingly announcing to the mountains, 'I'm the boss here!'.
A bunch of 4th yearies are playing Cricket on the Basket Ball court.
Envious. I think how "lucky" they are to have so much free time. I'm wrong.
Coming back to my assignment, I realize I don't have stapler here.
We go to the library to ask for one. Librarian gives his usual curt look before giving it to us.
Microprocessors is followed by preparing a lab file followed by coding Fibonacci series.
Funny how life becomes so intervened in certain activities that you forget to breathe,
Making the occasional deep gulps of the thinner but pure Solan air vital.
Dhabas have been discovered. Monthly Shimla trips have begun.
Trekking is the new craze where more than the terrains we explore ourselves.
I now know what it means to be a JUITian. I'm wrong. Not yet.

I'm a senior now. Life on campus looks much better.
Now that I can be on the other side of the bargain, I still don't like ragging.
It is not in my nature to have a false sense of power, I yearn for respect instead.
Academics has taken a back seat. True college life has begun to flap its wings now, so have I.
Late night LAN games are a hip. Freedom and JAP are our answers to Cyberoam.
I now know almost everyone in my batch. A walk from hostel to 'academic' never goes by without a few Heyys.
From blank multicasts to groups to latest movies, IP messenger gives 'sharing' a new meaning.
On weekends Wakna, Kanda, Shoghi, Solan, Shimla, calling Baldev bhaiya and the likes for cab,
Clubs and societies, events, competitions, tuck, cafe, and McD dhaba,
"Kaushal bhaiya, samosa crush kar dena..", "1 ka sikka nahin hai, ye lo Eclairs le lo.." are now a custom.
One night stands with books and notes help us sail through the exams. Well, almost.
To take a break from celebrations, we celebrate even more.
Le fiestus. A few weeks of preparations for three days of non-stop lunacy.
However hard I try I cannot become sincere enough for the exams that follow the fest.
Thanks to relative grading. We all do equally bad, and hence are equally happy.
As placement season approaches we try to become 'serious'.
One by one almost everybody gets placed.
We are ecstatic. No pressure whatsoever on the remaining days at college.
The best semester of all has started. 
Classes are rarely attended. Final project is going on at a snail's pace.
We have become lazier. I want to soak every ounce of this beautiful dream.

And then the 'lasts' begin. The last shimla trip. The last trek.
The last photo session. The last CS game. The last class. The last exam.
The last birthday bumps. The last joints. The last drinks. The last celebrations.
Documentaries are made from SENTIest movie songs. Farewell messages are scribbled.
The blue shirts become home for cliched goodbye messages and some creative erotic drawings.
The 'last' week is the toughest, more so if you're leaving in the end.
The empty hostels with their monstrous claws and paws tend to rip your soul apart.
The door that welcomed you a million times, now only has a graffiti - parting - message, and a lock.
Roaming blankly on empty hostel floors is followed by another daunting task that I vehemently hate : Packing!
Rotten socks, fungi laden mathri-boxes, empty deo bottles, seal packed shampoo, new crisp 1st year books,
Stack of old newspapers, Ultra stuffed dustbin with Maggi packets, Eclairs wrappers -- and what not!
I don't know where to begin, so many loved attachments to throw, so many memories to stuff in these bags,
So many moments of infinite joy to be taped. Forever.
I have learned a hell lot in these 4 years. Most of it outside the classrooms.
Affairs, crushes, FRIENDSHIPS, fights, chaos, apprehensions and inane dramas have taught invaluable lessons.
I now comprehend that the bold letters on the 'Thank You' gate are a dedication. From us to the alma mater.

I am standing at Waknaghat.
At the same spot on the other side of the road waiting for my 'last' bus to Kalka.
Acquaintances at the chemist shop, Paradise hotel, the salon and the general store --
Unbothered, are busy with their regular work. They have witnessed heavy hearts leaving hundreds of times.
The bus comes.
I am lucky today, I get a seat.
The last journey begins on the same winding Shimla-Kalka NH-22 which is notorious for giving sickness to many.
Sardarji from Punjab Roadways are driving the bus with the same nonchalant concern.
Twists and turns and slides and roles begin.
After a few minutes, the bus passes through a turn, known as TOI in Jaypee parlance.
And then I see it. For a last time like this.
In the lap of Shivaliks, nestled on top of the hill, standing tall like a barren fortress with sparkling neon diamonds.
I wave towards my JUIT, and it smiles in return, like an old granny adjusting her glasses to have a good look,
And instructs the hill and the trees to join in the farewell, my fortress subtly waves its tall hands,
I am not sure whether it is saying goodbye; or calling me back.

p.s. Here is a collection of some photos of JUIT on flickr.


adi said...

great one yaar. Miss JUIT.

Neha Gaba said...

awesome :)

Chak said...

I love it Adi, so so comprehensive with so many lines touching with the very true pinch.
One of many "I wave towards my JUIT, and it smiles in return.....".
beautifully written, thanku for sharing !


Himachali me bole to Faddu...!!! :)

Hitesh said...

What to say !! .. Every JUITian is having same story .. Same memories .. the best memories and the awesome story .. !!

rohit4all said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rohit4all said...

very nice aadi.....
descriptive enough to send a JUITian in heavy nostalgia.... :)

Amol Gupta said...

Great yar.

aman aggarwal said...

Nicely put..

Esha Gupta said...

rulana hi baaki tha...mil gayi shanti!!

Aadii said...

Thank you everyone.

@esha mam, :)

गीतांश (Geetansh) said...

Nice... Good... Too Good... Great... Awesome !!

Vivek Arora said...

Every word written take you back to that beautiful place. Very well written. I do miss my college days, what i call as Golden Days. Thanks for reminding those 4 beautiful years spent.

Rahul Upadhyay said...

Awesome!! sir ji!! Finally,I have found a JUITian who loves writing.:):)

Gaurav Maheshwari said...

really nice sir...

Mayank Chaudhary said...

i feel that these words are not khokle... agazing...every engineer has the same story at JUIT

Anil Kumar said...

Doesn't get any better.. Bro.. Beautiful !!!!!

Vidisha said...

very nice ... i could imagine how it feels when you reach the final year, amazing memories that everyone has in the college time...so much fun..

amazingly written :)

Prince Chauhan said...

Just 47 days left in JUIT, this beautiful write-up is a total bang-on to what I am feeling right now.

Tanmay Thakur said...

Beautiful !