Hello World Part -2

After keeping this thing pretty much in the backburner, I have decided to bend my back. The response to my first blog was phenomenal…….now that truly is an exaggeration..  but nevertheless…it was good enough to persuade my lazy self to continue it….so let me take off from where  I landed!!

It was about 10:30 in the morning when I reached Agartala……high altitude made the sun even more ferocious…there were eight of us and we were searching for the best means of transport to reach college, as I had read that the college was about 35km from the airport…finally we were approached by auto Walla’s (think they really sensed good business seeing us and all the heavy luggage). As usual bargaining is a part and parcel of Indian culture..!! All of them agreed that they will be paid “sho taka”. Now, I had heard Bengali before and I too as everyone thought that they were just demanding 100Rs for 5 autos. Given the distance, that was ridiculously cheap..we again tried to confirm the amount and all we could make of their accent was that the deal seemed good to them.  So, we were off from the airport. They took as through the so called short cut..and hell I had seen narrow roads before..but that was so narrow that it had room for only one auto at a time…I comforted myself by thinking that it would be a one-way but soon that doubt got cleared..!! I was just loosing myself in the scenic beauty and the occasional bumps kept me in check…the road snaked through paddy fields. There were some houses and strangely every house had a small pond behind it. There was no real traffic on the way but the cattle did keep blocking the path every now and then. The short cut ended up in a main road. The road was pretty lively, unlike the rest of the country, here I saw each and every motorist having a helmet…and yes they were on the heads. There was heavy police presence as expected .Now, when we paid them 100Rs…it was then we understood that we had to pay 200 per auto. It took us almost 45mins. to reach the college and there it was , the college where I would be spending 4 years of my life. The main building was not so impressive, but I hoped for the best. Now, it was the time for reporting and there was a looooong queue. I was already starving. The process was painstakingly slow. There was only one system available at the reporting counter and officials literally having no knowledge of the procedure were seated!! I got my chance in about 3 hrs. or so. Now, this time we had a provision of upgrading our college in subsequent rounds and I eagerly filled it first.  Every inch and corner of the building was being repaired or re-built.

Finally, the procedure did end and I went to fill my belly in the nearby canteen. The food was quite different. We expected them to allot the hostel, but whoa, there was a surprise in store!! The college management told us that the hostel for the fresher’s wasn’t ready and they simply asked us to come back after 20 days!! Had they informed us of such situation before, we would have made necessary arrangements before leaving home. In just a span of two days I was overcome with many feelings, it was of emotion while leaving home next was of curiosity to see the college and then it was anger!! After persuading a lot the college provided us with some boarding facility, one batch of students was allotted the third year hostel and another batch was allotted an abandoned building of Tripura Grameena bank!!! As the saying goes “Something is indeed better than nothing!!” the campus was huge, it was about 400acres on paper but there was no definite boundary and all we could see was thick forest cover. Gomati was the name of the hostel for third years. From the outset it looked more like an FCI granary:). We were temporarily allotted the vacant wing of the hostel. Many students decided to go back and return after the college reopened and many like me decided to stay back. The capacity of each room was four but due to lack of rooms they stuffed eight guys in one room. In a matter of hours I experienced the strange climate, minutes before, the sky had scattered clouds, and it was very sunny, if someone had made a bet with me that it would rain soon, I would have surely accepted that!! That didn’t happen and it started pouring from heavens. It rained continuously for about 3 hours. I met my roommates, 3 of them were from U.P. , 2  were from Bihar , one was from M.P, and one from Andhra. Everyone was rather hostile initially but things did become soft. My father would stay with me for 2 more days.

On the very first night of our stay in hostel, we were summoned up by second year guys on the pretext of “interaction”, they took us to their hostel and as soon as we entered the hostel, the 2nd year guys fell upon us like vultures on a carcass.  I was the first victim, they made me stand in the middle of the room with about 20 guys surrounding me and I got ragged for the first time. We left the hostel after about an hour with teary eyes and some seniors trying to pacify us. Classes were not scheduled to start for another 25 days, so all that we used to do was to sleep, eat and roam around. Parents, who had accompanied their wards, started leaving. It was time for my dad to leave me; I became a bit emotional again but didn’t let tears flow out as friends were around. Now that most of the parents had left, the seniors started to terrorise us again. We used to live in constant fear as it was the third year hostel. Sometimes we used to enjoy ragging, sometimes we wept. On some instances some drunken seniors would ask us to assemble and tell their plight of how they ended up in Agartala and many such things. Moustache which is generally considered as a pride among South Indians was soon gone from my face by force. One guy even threatened me that if I hadn’t got my moustache removed he himself would do it!!

The general feeling in the starting days was that I had got cut off from the rest of the world. SIM cards from other states were blocked in the north east due to security related problems. We subscribed a newspaper for our room; it was usually delivered at around 7p.m., the most unlikely time and we used to get a days late paper. We used to get newspaper once in 2 or 3 days as it used to rain heavily. There was only one FM station in the city of Agartala and its name was “Ulalla FM”, it used to play Hindi and Bengali songs. Climate used to very humid, we used to pass time by playing cricket.

…………so let me stop at this junction …..well, the journey has just begun and I will surely try to present my experiences in an even more interesting way….hope you guys still have appetite left to read my stuff:) …………suggestions and comments are always welcome…….

Some  snaps of Gomati