The first one I remember is the long, winding walk from the PSBB kindergarten buildings.
The one past the slides and swings and to the gate outside. I wasn’t as bad as my brother when it came to crying for going to school. A lot of time was spent on the slides, and not on the swings but climbing the bars supporting them. And again the long walk till the gate to go home.
It was the same school a few years later but it was the other gate, getting down two floors, past the silver jubilee hall, that shed like thingy and past the headmistress office. And those days of signing the gate pass to leave school half day or after an exam. Those were the days but not quite as what was about to follow.
Cut to Bombay, it was the one of the biggest campuses I’ve studied in, second only to where I am now. It was huge, famous and beautiful in more ways than one. The Bhavans campus. My school was in the interiors of the campus and we had to walk probably a little less than a mile from the BEST bus stop outside. One of the largest and the most entertaining campuses.
The campus houses schools, junior colleges and engineering and management colleges. Among the schools, there were mine, HansRaj and Bhavans AH Wadia. The colleges were Bhavans junior college, the Bhavans science and commerce colleges, Sardar Patel College of Engineering and S.P Jain Institute of Management. So you can imagine the density of college students, the variety, the works. It was heaven to walk out that one mile while going back home to look at all the beautiful people wasting away outside. The vada pav at Guptajis and the frankies, but then I digress.
The atmosphere was as depressing as it was motivational. The problem was inferiority complex. The majority of the crowd belonged to the junior colleges doing what is equivalent to 11th and 12th in school. I went to the CBSE school and we were considered to be still in “school” and wore uniforms, did not bunk specific “lectures” etc. To put it plainly, we were uncool. It was a nagging feeling that whenever we walk out, we used to think, those girls are probably saying to themselves, “Oh, them school kids”, when it was highly probably that we were elder to them. It was a topic K and I used to talk and laugh about. The popular names I remember from the campus are Shivani and Priyanka. And that Kaata Laga remix video girl whose name I am not able to recollect. Then K breaking the ice with A by offering a seat in the bus. It sounded quite funny back then. Do you read this space, Miss Aesa? The walks ended on either side of the road depending on whether I was going home or going to Powai for IIT classes.
Over to Sripedumbudur. This was no fun. The fun part ended with the negotiations with the security at the main gate and the side gate to let us go. Then it was a journey in 76B or 76C. If we catch the former, it was a different bus from Poonamalee. If we were lucky to get a 76C, then you can have a good nap all the way till Ashok Pillar. The walks had nothing interesting. BR and I love to walk. We decided one day we’d walk all the way home from college. We were just waiting for the perfect weather to do that but it never happened. The walks were deserted, the whole route was uninteresting with only SIPCOT and engineering colleges on either side.
Present tense. And here in Uncle Sam’s land, it’s no different from my college. Except for the distance. The boulevard is not that bad. During fall it looks really beautiful but otherwise it teems with all the geekiness. The Wildlife Resources, the Venture offices, Red Hat building and then ending with the Engineering Buildings. There is no place where you could stop by for a vada pav. Duh. At least SVCE had a Nair Kadai!
A few months from now, there won’t be any such walk. Or maybe they’ll continue. It would be a different place and a different route. Or, on a positive note, a ride in a car? Whatever it is, it is going to make a world of a difference to the days of our lives. Only one thing is certain. As we set out to explore the different walks of life, one of them is going to be sorely missed – the one that characterizes a large part of our experience in an educational institution.