A college friend posted a link to John Denver’s Annie’s song triggering some memories and a flashback.
Ours was a group of five friends. We were the undergraduate class majoring in Zoology for our Bachelor’s degree. By the time we reached the third and the final year of graduation, we were a batch of merely twenty two. Being a small batch made it easier to stick together.
We would play basketball in the court behind our lecture theatre, and also some hand cricket on days when we would bunk lectures or they were cancelled.
Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) runs University Special buses all across Delhi. (Are they still running? At least, the buses were plying a couple of decades ago.) Being science undergraduates, our day would begin very early with the first lecture of the day and end even later than the last lecture in the college schedule. Most of us would take the early morning U-Special and be in college by 8:25 a.m. or earlier.
Science block of the college was a separate building, with Zoology department on the ground floor, followed by Botany, Chemistry, Physics, and Electronics on the subsequent floors.
While waiting for our first lecture to begin, we would spend time sitting around the corridors or on the back lawns. Our laboratory windows opened onto these lawns on one side and botanical garden on the other. The college could boast of its infrastructure and greenery, with many trees lining the various lawns.
On autumn days, the college sweepers would gather the fallen leaves in heaps under the trees, all around the tree line. Our group of five girls loved Annie’s song. (Boys were as much a part of the group for all batch activities and charades, but girls always had their clusters.) Almost every morning, we would walk on the path around the lawn, from our building to the main gate, singing the song and jumping on the piles of dried leaves. The crunching sound of the stomped leaves is as delightful as jumping in the water puddles after the rains.
Many a morning were spent singing and walking with friends in Delhi University Campus. The famous Bread and aloo-tikki (potato patties) sandwich and lemonade outside our college, and the walk to the central faculty for vegetarian hot dogs (and the handsome man running the shack) – an alumnus will have many such memories to recount.
The college trips to Simla and Surajkund bonded us more. The banana eating competition for one of my groupies, and the songs sung to cheer her on, the walks to the mall road, eating gulab-jamuns and pastries, friendly flirting of the boys with the girls, those clear night skies showing a million stars of the milky way, all and more. My school life was fun, college topped it, and the fun never stopped even after marriage.
We never completely lost touch with each other, maybe a few years of silence here and there. Each time, when we find each other, we find the bond. Those memories live on and are part of my flashback treasure forever and ever.
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||