That brief window of two months in second year just before the juniors come in, happened to be the best time of our stay in the hostel. We were not the junior most and the seniors looked at us in a different light. While technically they still wanted to assert their supremacy, it was a period of evolution for them as well as us. We were all friendlier, The seniors instead of raising an eyebrow at our mischief were now guiding us and ensuring we were ready to teach the freshers the lessons in humility and obedience. We thought we had it covered, and we were right for most parts.
Our days in workshop were starting to be very monotonous. We all had settled into routines, Mandi a furious and often angrily hardworking chap. Muneet wanting to impress everyone with his hard work, Charan and Sharmas being diligent. Pradeep, Piyush, Sarab, Surjit all hanging in their with their jobs. While kohli, Ankit, Jasdeep and few other day scholars were forming close alliances with Manchanda, the canteen ward, I remember Surjeet, Singla and me having quite a few animated discussions about films and life in general. One such instance was when Singla in full confidence said, “Amrita Arora is the only actress in bollywood that i can consider my sister” Then came the movie “Girlfriend” and Singla forever had to endure our jokes. This was also a time of collective Boredom and our “Mass Bunks” were too frequent. Kamal and I had areputation of leading the class in these acts, and it usually began with “ki yaar aj mood ni kar reha class laun da, chaliye? follwed by a collective “CHALO!!” . We used to irritate the studious lot so much. Mangal came up with a way to ensure these bunks were unanimously accepted. He Simply shouted,” Challlo ni taan main Gaal pau deni hai, ann mann dhannn,… *^&*^*%$%^$^%*R$$^” Everyone had to get up and walk away. And we were so stubborn that once YP Bansal was walking right opposite to us on the other side of the fence asking why we arent attending his lecture, we ignored him by raising the books to the side of our head and walking away. Upon questioning in next class, Pradeep said, ” Sir mujhe to padhna hai par Mangal ne Gaali di hui hai”
Having stayed together for over a year, we had come to observe traits of everyone. We knew at what time of the day who would be doing what. it was fun mostly, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Kulwinder’s ”Kiven”, My “Kya Hua” Vishal’s “Mama Heer Da” Singla’s “O nahi Yaar” were quite regular. We could always count on Kuldeep coming up with some wisecrack and Mangal coming up with an equally abusive and funny reply. And there sparring went on for days, weeks and at times even months. It was usually settled by Dharampal’s Laugh. Who ever Dharampal voted for usually was the winner. There was no comeback after Dharam laughed at you.
Our Foremen often found innovative ways of throwing out of the workshop with Kuldeep once being marked absent because he was spreading a rumor that Mangal got engaged. Pasricha marked me absent one day when i was twisting my neck and he thought i was immitating him. Kohli was marked absent for as Russel Peters quoted in his standup “Just in Case” . Amongst all this fun, our preparations for re- exams was on in full swing. I had increased bunking the classes, only this time i was seriously studying maths.
Then the day came.
We had been waiting for it for over an year. the plans and strategies were in place. the strike teams and formations had been discussed and briefed. We were ready.
He arrived with much swagger as if the world was at his feet. We were supposed to bow down and be at his feet. He got along with seniors and picked Kohli to form his first impression on. He knocked on Kohli’s door and went in hoping this would begin his dominance over our batch. Bad choice. What happened in the room, to a certain extent changed the perception of our batch with the seniors. Gurjeet Singh, supposed to be our senior had arrived!!! . He went to the room as Gurjeet and came out as Pinky. Nothing untoward happened, just Kohli was able to lay down the law for him and the rest of the hostel, that 21st batch was no push over. Sadly for Pinky, news travelled fast in our hostel through Muneet and all his subsequent attempts at throwing some “senior attitude” not just failed, but also threw him at the deep end as far as the jokes were concerned.
Our Juniors were coming soon and as a batch we were happy to have tackled Pinky easily. it wasnt ragging, but our confidence was boosted.