Our First week in College was behind us, the Ragging wasn’t too bad and the classes were boring as we were all too new and were only finding our footing in this new world. The friendships and room sharing arrangements from first week were being reviewed and a more settled system was starting to take shape. I shifted to room no 4, and I guess I was with Rajneesh, a small boy from Chandigarh whose father was something in the education board. He was my roommate only in name coz he used to travel back n fro every day. The poor guy got ragged a couple of times on the way and he also ended up dropping out. So room no 4 was mine and I was glad to have the only single room.
As expected, some friendships were starting to blossom in us hostlers, especially Rohit- Aman, Ankit- Kullu, Sharma- Kapahi- Mandi triangle and so on. We hostlers generally stuck together, n the day scholars were little less in the mix with us. Our prominent day scholars were Kamal and Gurdeep, and the reason why they were prominent was because they came to join us as hostlers later on and were a big part of our story, once in. Also, by the second week we had a clearer distinction in our batch, basis 10th n 12th. This was facilitated by our Maths teacher who said the guys who v cleared 12th could skip his lecture. About 14 of us excused ourselves.
We had lots of fun in the first year, Every evening, without fail, Rohit used to send Bairagi, his roomie, to the mess to fetch water at 10:55 pm and at 11 am we would hear a voice in the corridor,”O Bairagi @%^#, aaja” and Bairagi would be leisurely walking back to the room. Once he sat in my room and true to time, The whole incident repeated with Rohit calling out to him but Bairagi dint answer. So, instead of waiting, Rohit merely closed the door and Slept off That’s how much we cared for each other . We had also unanimously thought of a way to end our grudges and be in your face, quite literally by having a “Kambal Kutai” event. Usually it happened in my room where all would gather, the lights would be turned off and then all hell would break lose. Rupinder, once hit someone so bad that a teeth was broken. We banned it after that incident.
After or welcome party, we were formally asked to play a cricket match with our 2nd year hostlers and we had a pretty good team, Ankit, Lalit, Kohli ( our Afridi) Vishal, mangal, Mandi, n me. We were all solid and we thrashed the seniors. After that Lalit, Ankit and me were pretty much fixed for our college team.
Very early on in our stay at the hostel, we were taught that seniors are our teachers and friends. It was a lesson for life and we were lucky to have some good people around us.We had a great time with our super Seniors, the 4th year batch and I could never forget following incidents:
1) One of our 4th year seniors claimed to have driven his car on the thump of his woofer, which we were made to believe. Then once he stole his dad’s car and since the kms had changed, he rode it backwards in circle to get the meter to its original reading.
2) We went out to play some team on a sunday and we were cruising to the target when our breakfast came from the mess, and the entire team was out for 15 runs so that we could all eat paranthas.
3) The same match while bowling, a senior missed a catch in slips and I let out a verbal volley much to amusement of Navin Behnal paaji.
4) One of our Super Seniors came out wearing the complete kit in our Cricket meet, looked like a crouching goat/Dragon, gave me the stares then got run out without facing me.
5)I flopped in the Sports meet :(( scoring around 50 runs in 4 games and taking only 5-6 wickets. :((
Also, how can I not mention watching Yaadein with Surjit after both of us discussed the pros and cons of Bunking for atleast 4 hours before deciding to go for it. We also realised in first year that any movie reviewed by Ankit was supposed to be super bad.
I Guess most of us hadn’t watched any Ghochas in a theatre, so Mangal took the initiative and got about 10 of us in an auto n we went to some very sleazy areas of Ludhiana but dint get any tickets. And on Vishwakarma Day, Kulwinder and I actually went to a theatre to watch ” Ladki jawaan Padosi Pareshan” and ended up running out in the interval because the theatre was jam packed with Bhaiyas.
First year was also the time we spent with Mal Singh, our famous foreman. He taught us about using hand tools ( there actually are HAND TOOLS !!) and his pet dialogue was “Gajran Wangu” ( referring to the angle of filing, which was supposed to make the task as easy as peeling off carrots) . Vernier Callipers, Files, Sand paper, Mal Singh and Canteen tea. This was where we spent 80% of our first year. Once we had to carve a hexagonal shape through filing some metal and maintain the dimensions, and my job was quite close to completion. I got into some discussion with either Mandi or Sharma and screwed up one angle. I tried to play smart and continued filing. File I did, but instead of 20 mm I went to 18mm and, upon inspection,
Mal Singh called everyone, and said, ” aa Vekho Sood ne ki $%^$%^^% kitta hai, BC, 20 di 18 kar ti, fer kahooga Hindi Vich, Ki Sir Bataya Nahi ” I wasn’t paying much attention, but I guess I saw something and for the first time abused out loudly, I said: ” O BC.. aa ki oye??” and I was shocked when Mal Singh replied calmly, ” Hun Punjabi bolan lag peya, Kaka enu Gajran vangu karya kar”
Mal Singh was famous for marking absents even if we were late for attendance. And we needed 85% minimum attendance to be eligible for exams. This was probably a reason Sarabpreet got into the habit of running for attendance while he was still tying his turban, and at times in chappals. First year was also laying the ground for my more famous encounters with YP Bansal, Our drawing teacher, who invariably failed me in all the drawing assignments. I got a F in 28 out of 30 assignments that year !!
We were getting a hang of life in a hostel. And an Engineering hostel with only guys was even better…