(Yes, you read right!)
One of my all time favourite movies will be Three idiots, reason: the adventures of college life that Raju Hirani portrayed bring back a lot of college memories. I have been blessed with friends of all kinds. Friends who warmed those ass shaped seats in my mind, on many occasions in life, especially in the college days.
College… I can never remember college without the memory of our notorious warden, Ms Mary (the Dragon). It was believed that she breathed fire due to an alleged love failure. The fire in her burned the hostellers for years, before and after my stint with the college hostel. She had a nasty temper and was the terror of the college. The college principal trembled when he saw her at a distance.
Among the inmates of our hostel was Manju a lovable chatter bug. She would bring me gossips from all over college. I remember one evening, the eve of one of my second year exam; we spent the whole evening imagining our visit to Switzerland with the most gorgeous boys from college. We went skiing, snow fighting, visited the lovely churches to enjoy the Christmas carols, had a handsome guide to flirt with….all of it was fun in our minds, until I slipped from the metal chair I was balancing and woke up the Dragon. It was midnight and not a soul in sight. Our rooms were in two different directions. It was really hard to hide when the Dragon had a faithful sidekick- a black Dachshund called Blackie (how typical!) searching with her. The dog was known for being ferocious. If we tried to run for our rooms, one of us would get caught. Not a lovely prospect. If we ran to the same room, she was sure to find one room unbolted…we were screwed! Never the less, I dived into Manju’s bed and covered myself from head to toe while she crawled under the bed and held her breath. We would take our chances. Surely enough, the Dragon switched on the lights and Lo! Behold! Everyone was asleep. Blackie tried to crawl under the bed. He pulled at her shirt sleeve to attract attention. Manju resisted by giving the dog a punch on the nose and a good shove. Off went Blackie, whimpering, as the lights went off. “Shh!! Blackie” The Dragon barked at she dragged the dog out. No further searches were conducted. Our necks were safe for the night. It was a close call. We specialised in close calls for three years successfully. Blackie religiously avoided running close to Manju and barked whenever his mistress was near. So much for being ferocious!
Another of my precious friends from the same hostel was Siny was known for her explosive laugh. It was potent enough to blast anyone in her close proximity (approx 200 m radiuses) to deafness.
I remember once, in the middle of the night someone came to my window sill and knocked. My room mate and I were busy exchanging ghost tales that night and as soon as she mentioned of a certain house being haunted with faces by the window, we heard the knock. We sat shocked for a split second and decided to open the window together. A grotesque face glared at us over a torch light.We stepped back with a start. Seeing our shock, it then erupted to laughter. It was loud and eerie.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” we screamed in fright before a hand caught my mouth and hissed “Shhhhhhhh…. It’s me, Siny, you dope….open up!”
I must warn you a midnight visit like that is hazardous to one’s health. I had bear with a few of those from Siny before I was eternally cured of opening knocking windows.
“Let’s go down and knock off some mangoes!” She said as she pulled me out of bed.
Manju was standing in the courtyard with a few of my batch mates aiming at the mangroves that the Dragon had lovingly planted. We were not allowed to take the mangoes unless they had fallen to the ground.
“No way! Dragon is going to have me as a snack if she sees it.” I whispered as I walked out to see Siny joining a band of mango thieves.
“Don’t be a chicken! Come onnnn” she said as she pulled.
Apparently, we were not the only bright ones. The junior batches on the first floor next to me were aiming from the balcony like snipers. There were runners from each batch waiting patiently to catch a fallen mango. This was much more serious than I thought of. Manju took a few aims and down came two mangoes. Siny and I rushed to fetch it. The juicy mangoes were quickly consumed before the balcony snipers hit gold. In came the runners, as quick as mice, to fetch the bunch of fallen mangoes. Manju ran with Siny and nabbed four before another crack was heard. A few minutes later, everyone had eaten a couple of mangoes and looked full. I ventured to get the last mango only to slip on a wet step and go skidding into a hedge in front on the mango tree. A huge pot at the side of the hedge fell on impact, covering Blackie’s leash. The scared dog ran to the nearest corner for cover. The whole thing looked so funny that Siny let out one of her explosive laughs. It was too late to stop. The Dragon’s door burst open. Everyone ran for cover. Not a soul in sight when she flashed her torch. All she saw was a broken pot, scared Blackie and mango skins. There was hell to pay the next day. The whole hostel had an hour of the Dragon lecturing on the sins of stealing. Manju, Siny and I along with the rest of the mango thieves pretended to be innocent all through. That’s what friends are for….stealing mangoes, getting into trouble and scaring the daylights out of one another!
Come PG. I met Bindhu when I enrolled for Masters. She was a dependable person who loved her friends wholeheartedly. I remember an incident where her good heart saved a friend from himself and left the both of us cracking to peals of laughter, even today. An instant dance contest was being conducted and our good friend X put down his name for it.
The music began to play the first tract and he began dancing. He was a well know western dancer and we were eager to see him in action. The moment he began, we looked at each other in surprise. What we witness was one of the finest of his moves and a style with no equal. His hip began to rotate and so did the rest of him. We were not sure if we were watching the salsa that he often described, an A rated movie or a washing machine. We looked around trying to control our mirth and saw the juniors who were watching open mouthed. A wolf whistle was heard from the audience.
As soon as X saw us in front, the track changed and his style of dancing became the classical bharatanatyam. Bindhu looked at me with a question on her face. I chuckled. My cheeks hurt from trying to keep a straight face. She mouthed a question” WHAT IS HE DOING?”…it was lost in the din. We looked at him like he had lost his mind. The steps were great but imagine a 100 kg guy wearing cargos, dance like a girl in the dance get up!!! Yikes!
Instead of being deterred, he then went on to ballroom dancing or was it Mexican style dancing with the feet tapping and swirls for the third track. “Oh boy” I thought as Bindhu tried not to look flabbergasted. He covered the stage with the invisible partner and winked at me. I was biting my cheeks inside my mouth. The audience erupted with claps!!! It was embarrassing and funny at the same time. He looked like he has lost a couple of screws.
The music changed once again and he began the snake dance. Bindhu and I looked around for the chap who helps with the time. We were laughing and looking worried at the same time. As soon as she located him, she hissed “Press the buzzer…now!!…I don’t care… next contestant!”
Alas! The final track was a salsa and X was gyrating his hips repeatedly when the poor chap who was intimidated by Bindhu pressed the buzzer. We laughed until our face was blue and then some more. Only she could have stopped a friend who needed saving from themselves. She was someone who would come in on the rainiest of days to sit with me without a word.
There are many more in the list of my unique friends (Jubi the joker, Mary my little lamb, Shailesh the listener, etc) but this space is not enough to thank them.
So as I said, even though I don’t have three ass shaped seats to take pictures on… My unique friends still brighten up my day…Enough for me to scream All izz welll !!!!