A part-proxy Post: Courtesy Deepu
It has been aeons now and we started off at a time, which in hindsight, almost seems like some long-lost childhood.
Dodging the ragging sessions of seniors to the bullets of the STASI like police force; countless hours spent in idle planning about elusive treks across the length and breadth of the country; late efforts to hurdle across insurmountable-looking barriers for REC tests and then even latter minute decisions to give it all up for another session of idle gossip on esoteric topics from Alexander to Mobutu Sese Seko; planning dilettanteish endeavours ranging from breathing life to the dying embers of the quizzing culture at REC to still-born attempts at creating literary magazines and then scaling down our literary ambitions to a successful launch of a raunchier one; dumb charade competitions to forming a crack quiz team, which roared in the halcyon days and bowed out unfortunately with a quiet meow; emulating Lance Armstrong on our home stretches - the Ring Road; expanding our knowledge of ourselves with impromptu folk dance performances; the first session of Rum and Coke in the hallowed precincts of B-69; the rave sessions of bacchanalian merrymaking at Hotel Radhika; star-crossed hillocks which would go on to name this Yahoogroup; cycling to Mandira Dam and back in a 50 km cyclathon; Dolo Gobindo Sahoo and the Ranga-Kutta methods which makes the eponymous wedding boy what he is today; snipping off bullet-ridden jeans until they became your first acquisition of designer denim briefs; the highs and lows of the campus period;Buddykoti and myself striving hard to outdo each other on Mess Charges and occasionally on the lawns of Hall-3 as we fought over the rights of use of a Bhutanese owned cycle;load-shedding induced musical soirees on the corridors of successive hostels; the thousand mistrusts with Boney M over a whole lot of issues; Vishy boy being made to do the laps of the stadium as the 'Gunduest' of us all during ragging to the countless bangs that your fists had to endure to wake up Kumbhakarna from the arms of Morpheus; the 'bald-pate' fashion statement which elevated REC-Rourkela to the forefront of inter-REC haute-cotoure initiatives; cycling across the mountains behind Hall-5 and slipping into wilderness between empty snake-skins and mountains that seemed as if they were from Middle Earth; the first endless night of conversation in Hall-1 46 about puppy love episodes; the change of address of Suratna to the romantic alcove of the REC library as Cupid struck hard; morning shows at Konark and the libido-induced mass rush of Hall-1 to the Kama Sutra in the middle of Sem-1 exams; German club books and election strategies - phew!
And Ranga's endless wall-staring sessions(someday I expected him to start talking to it); the six week hiatus when we resolved not to discuss girls,and did not; the 3 days after that when we talked nothing except girls; Ranga and I forming an antakshari team, clearing the prelims to end the main rounds at MINUS five; Fredrick Wright's insufferable audio rounds; the depression in the civil(ranga, boney and vishy) camp, with SSPP saying aye to Kalia; our first quiz at REC(Hall-3 with Subrat), a day before the ED submission; surdie's eternally fathomless gyan on life, women and Nietzche; acting out Tierra del Feugo and god-knows-what-else for Dumb Charade practise; Deepu's indiscriminate beliicosity, including antagonists like Ratul and Swagat; his final revenge on Variyar; the tragi-comic sinedie; the Spice tent and the free cake coupons; the all night walks through Kharagpur; Ranga as Reading Room Sec, and the lurid magazines; the 250-odd times we listened to Bada Din on that odd contraption....
And on and on and on... Some of the above would perhaps be decipherable only to some and some others may just have become corrupted files in your memory due to non-use over the years - but we have the Aegean stables here of memories and we haven't even scratched the surface of the Pune ones. Guys, TheSadKaffe was created to keep rejigging the memories of the past and celebrate the togetherness that we created. It has been nearly 8 and a half years of knowing each other inside out and I guess, all of us have in a whole lot of unusual and queer ways, become a part of each other.
Vishy's marriage happened in a bit of a hurry and Wally, old boy and Priya, my sincere apologies for not having the time to pen down something in those maddening, frenzied days of B-School life. But as Ranga readies to tie the knot, I feel happy in a very quaint sort of way - almost as if the years are beginning to tell upon you and the feeling of an epochdawning and another setting. Don't know if I have been able to put it forth aptly, but I thought that I will scribble a few lines about the old days and hope, it brings a welcome whiff of nostalgia and a thin smile on the faces of all you hopeless bunch of baboons. Cheers RANGA boy and from everybody at TheSadKaffe, congratulations and best wishes.
Add a toast to THE SADKAFFE and all that it stands for.P.S. And to think of it,"Ranga" was never his name.