Thursday, June 22, 2006

A WALK TO REMEMBER

They say scents or smells are the most evocative in nature. But on that front I beg to differ, because according to me, the juxtaposition of a place and a certain kind of weather have the propensity to throw the mind so heavily into a retrograde that it is difficult to shake away the wave of emotion that overpowers one at the time. I say this as I had the good fortune of experiencing a similar emotion just yesterday. I was to go to Bandra, Hill Road to be precise in order to pick up a receipt. That such a trifling incident would trigger such a reaction as to provide me the opportunity to experience unalloyed joy for the remainder of the evening was something I had not expected as I boarded the train that was to take me from my workplace to Bandra. But the moment I saw the diamond-shaped board that read BANDRA, I was reminded of a friend who once told me that that I could lose weight if I managed to cover the distance from my college to Bandra station in 7 minutes flat. I was tempted to try the 7 minute exercise again, but refrained from doing so as my goals were different today. I stepped out of the station only to cross the booking counter, where I saw a girl standing with a college bag slung across her shoulder, glancing fervently at her watch and at the exit point of the station. It looked like time had frozen for me. The same scene 4 years ago, the same cloudy sky, the same fervent look, the same crowd billowing out of the rather narrow exit arches at Bandra station; just the person was different as I was then waiting for one of my friends who was to accompany me on the then 15 minute walk to college.

I walked across the road, heading towards Hill road, crossed the familiar Bandra bus depot and saw the ever crowded 505 bus stop, as crowded as ever. Some things never change! I finished my task and came back to the road, to find the clouds intact, yet not a drop of rain. The sunlight permeated through the grey clouds and lent an orange hue to the environs. My heart was in ecstasy looking at the mellow appearance of the surroundings as I started walking back towards the station to get home. I reached the cross roads near the most important landmark of our time, more crucial than even the Gateway of India, the point of Journal and Assignment exchange…. Lucky restaurant. I waited a good 2 minutes there and ultimately decided to take the 7 minute joyride! I started walking along the all-so-familiar road, that all-so-frequently-traversed road, that oh-how-I-wish-I-could-come-back-here road, that led to the one place that will remain etched in my memory forever…. Thadomal Shahani Engg College….. MY COLLEGE!!!

I crossed the familiar yellow boards with black writing that declared ‘XEROX’ in different spellings and 3 different languages, and I went back to the time when my team mates and I went from pleading to threatening one of those shopkeepers to insert a missed page in our project report 12 hours before submission!!! I then crossed the lane that led to yet another of our favorite hangouts, the lane that led to the G7 multiplex. I had lost count of the number of crappy and good movies I had seen there. The multiplex was still there, one of the screens was showing the Da Vinci Code today, but that squabbling over which movie to go to till 20 minutes before the show, ditching the idea of walking for want of time and then hurriedly dividing ourselves into groups of 3, squeezing into a rickshaw like sardines, exhorting the driver to go fast through bumper-to-bumper traffic and ultimately encountering a ‘house-full’ board…. Those times were gone! And all of a sudden, I could hear myself humming Aqua’s ‘turn back time’. Heaving a sigh I walked on. I then crossed over to Linking road, and came across the towering edifice of Shopper’s Stop. People who were walking by might have laughed looking at a girl staring and smiling at a tall building! Little did they know that one monsoon, in pouring rains, I had trooped to the same mall with a bunch of friends curious to know what was happening at an ‘Ethnic India’ festival! And what did I take back from there? Around 20 miniature unbaked pots, made by own hands and scores of memories of how we got drenched but prevented the pots from getting wet, taking turns at holding them and covering them with our wind-cheaters, laughing and giggling all the way back, thoroughly unmindful of the surroundings. ‘If only I could turn back time… If only I could…..’

I was nearing the place that served as my mainstay for a good 20% of my life till date, when to my left was the Barista of Linking Road. This was the place that made me fall in love with coffee places, (though I had been initiated into the scintillating world of coffee long before Barista burst into the urban Indian scene, thanks to my being a south Indian who loves my home brewed filter coffee). This was where we hung out. This was where we completed our assignments. This was where a bunch of 7 of us had spent an hour and a half talking about nothing and everything across two rather distant tables, (much to the chagrin and discreet disapproval of the amiable staff there). This was where our previously planned project group disbanded over a solemn cuppa and this was the exact same spot where the new one was formed. Again over another hot cuppa. This was where my sister waited as I went in to college to hear the result of my first campus recruitment interview and this was where we celebrated soon after. As I crossed the road that took me into the lane that led to TSEC, I was rather surprised at the flutter I felt within. I entered the college building and saw the plinth against the far wall, the Katta as we used to call it. It still had a couple of crumpled note-sheet papers. There was still the one empty coke bottle lying on its side. There was still the odd paper cup in a corner. But what was not there was something that could never come back the way it was. It came back to me morphed into something different and started peeking through the vitreous edifice of my mind. I remembered the time I had hugged my friend upon seeing our first year, first semester result. I remembered the time when I had consoled a distressed friend who was sad that she had lost a year on account of the folly of someone else. The paper ribbons and vibrant balloons, remnants of the year’s festival were still dangling precariously on a thin strand of cello tape. Somewhere in the distance, I heard the typical TSEC cry, ‘TEE….SEC…TSEC…’ and three claps. I heard the roars of joy that used to go up when we used to see our college team up on stage dancing or walking the ‘ramp’ for our fashion show. And somewhere, Bryan Adams screamed ‘Those were the best days of my life!!’ and I heard the auditorium scream with him.

I gazed into the distance and saw the grey clouds still there, yet not a drop of rain. I suddenly started to feel extremely happy, the memories were flitting in and out like butterflies and each memory added that bit of color to my thoughts! I stepped out of the college verandah and started my walk back, determined that this time I will complete the walk to the station in 7 minutes, and not in the 45 minutes I had taken while coming here. As I started walking back, I noticed the grey clouds turn even more dark, and the sudden silent raindrop came gently down. And I was left thinking, ‘ Is this a walk to remember or is this a walk to remember’………

7 comments:

megh said...

bored i was on a saturday morning,
i was sick and tired of all the learning

so i came online, my usual pastime,
logged onto orkut to c if ever1s fine

had a new fan, took me by suprise,
amit kale, great guy, hes real nice

just 11 fans, aint a lot,
lets check them out i thought

and thats is how I stumbled,
upon lilac avenue, "nice name", i mumbled

"a walk to remember", just a couple of days old
liked how u started it, so down and dwon i scrolled

and as u started recounting sweet memories
it reminded me of my old college buddies

good times they were, i wish they'd come back,
suddenly i started wondering whats "lilac"

so i searched on, the one and only, google,
and found out after some easy struggle

didnt know its pale pinkish purple with bluish tinge all over,
though i knew its some kinda flower,


so u like aqua, bryan adams and other kinds rock?
BTW, im sure u could do that 7 minute walk

keep blogging and penning u r beautiful thoughts,
coz some1s reading in the midst of his night outs.

Whizkid said...

Hey Sindhu,
Long time gurl!!Beautifully penned down..i experienced every moment myself..i admit..i was choked for a min..
Keep up the good work!!

payal said...

hey Sindhu,
Finally went through your blog.
Especially the blog 'A walk o remember is an amazing work.
The way in which u have put down your experiences is very honest and relative to the 'best days of everyone's life.....college days'

Ravi Kumar said...

You just "Turned my Time" back... Good One....
But one question, How do you get time to write such lengthy articles?

whats the harm said...

Hi Sindy,

Such a beautiful article. All your memories penned down are the same as mine. The pots we made at Shoppers stop and the mehendi we put all came flooding back. A perfect article.

alchemistthemurderer said...

beautiful.. :)

US said...

Hi Sindhu,

Really a great piece of work.

While i was reading ur blog i felt as if i'm watching short documentry film which has all the great shades of remembrance of the college days.

I miss mine too..

Take care and keep blogging.

US