Summer is not a beautiful memory for most Delhites, save few. And i am one amongst the latter. For me summer is a bag of some beautiful memories.
It was one summer evening that i checked into a hotel management college in central Delhi, to start the three memorable years of my life. Our small campus had classrooms, hostel & teacher accommodation, all aligned along the perimeter of a lawn. Our college was just outside the ridge forest, on the outskirts of Pusa agricultural institute campus.
An L-shaped four storeyed building became my home for the next three years. As a fresher, we were assigned rooms on the top floor, 3 beds in a spacious room, 13 rooms (including seven single bed-rooms) every floor. I then thought, the top floor was assigned to us for the convenience of our seniors to rag us. Few days later, i realized it was not the seniors, but the rowdy in the sky, Sun, who was actually ragging us.
In spite of being in the greenest patch of Delhi, the concrete rooms doubled up as an oven to bake us. We were not allowed to have coolers or air-conditioners in our room. A single fan tried its best to throw air, and it did a fairly pathetic job.
We became innovators, inventing methods of survival under those hot concrete roofs. ‘Bed-sheet curtains’ soaked in water, filtered the hot dry airs flowing in through the doors & windows. Floors were religiously washed and sometimes water-logged (knee deep). We didn’t even spare our cotton mattress. We started sprinkling water every hour for the first few days, later, buckets of water landed on the bed like cloud-burst.
My room-mate Vishnu, was the one most affected by the heat. He would sleep whenever he could, with only a wet towel around his waist, for modesty sake. We lost count of the number of times we took bath in a day. I used to rush back to hostel at every possible break for a quick bath. My poor day scholar batch-mates, they never had this luxury.
Rain is a luxury in Delhi, which even the Ambani’s cannot afford. I remember people, rather lazy bums, getting out of their beds, to throw water at each other playfully. I think, more than the fun element, its the prospect of getting soaked which prompted them to do it. Some of us opted to wash the dirty laundry of my senior batch under the section ‘ragging’ rather than the less effortful chores like getting alcohol for their girl-friends. Bathroom was like Antarctica for us.
I clearly remember that nobody missed the mess during meal-times in Summer. Even if they didn’t have their meal, they would mark their attendance, religiously. Anyone who have been to Delhi would clearly understand that the reason is not the dining hall or the food, but my female batch-mates and their summer wears.
Summers also meant long walks through Pusa Agricultural institute till Mother Diary, to feast on ice-creams. Wide roads with huge trees arching over them, cool breeze and clever scientists strolling or cycling by, red colour villas… evenings in Pusa was like walking through an old English neighbourhood. Its here in Pusa campus and mostly during summers, where numerous love stories blossomed and perished.
Summer stories doesn’t end in college, it went on with my life across Delhi. From the three bedroom apartment in the ‘Urban Slum’ of Khirki village to the roof-top barsati in Patel-nagar & Gurgaon, i have many stories to share. Our fights with the blazing Sun can be chronicled in volumes and would occupy more space than Britannica in your book-shelf. I think i should spare you from those horribly funny experiences of mine. For now, enjoy the heat as much as you can.