NEVER TOO OLD TO BE GOOFY!
1. With Jeyachandran1970- 2.With Hairy Pandian 42 years later
Jose Abraham&Victor Babu(initiation) same bogs!
Nearly 42 years ago, when I joined the Christian Medical College, Vellore, I shared a room with three other guys….room 245 in D block of Men’s Hostel also known as ‘the Mansion of the gods’.Sudipta became the chief of pediatric surgery, Suranjan became the Director of CMC institution! & Subhabrato became a famous anesthetist in Kolkata.
My friend and former ever popular HOD of surgery Prof Aravindan Nair had invited me for the wedding reception of his son yesterday at the college premises, which is adjacent to the mansion of the gods.
I landed half an hour early, having gone from Coimbatore nearly 450 km away. I needed a bath after a long sweaty journey. The choice ranged from inviting myself to the homes of any of my former classmates- each a big shot in Vellore like Vino the brainy chief of Community Health or Renu the meticulous chief of ophthalmology …. to checking into a hotel for a hot bath.
Am I still young and goofy ....or a stuck up old surgeon? I took a rickety of bus and got off at Gate 2 and walked up to the mansion of gods.(I was secretly happy that even a sober place like Bagayam was dug up upside down my hometown Coimbatore by the municipal corporation!) A guard looked anxiously at me, I just smiled and kept going towards my former D block.
There was yet another younger guard there and I expected to be challenged, but kept my eyes glued to the ground as not to give him any ideas. I climbed up the flight of stairs to the first floor.
The old room was the same somber self, dark with no inmates; the balcony at the back was covered with leaves from the adjacent flame of the forest, just as it used to be!
In the olden days, Keith Gammon was our next door neighbor with his famous baritone voice..always with the greeting, “Ennappa?” Shastry lived in the adjacent room and next one belonged to David Rajan. The ‘maha’ seniors used to drop in and keep an eye on us whenever our room got a bit noisy. Shastry was friendly even used to borrow my violin to play!
But times have changed now; I was a total stranger on the premises and was ready to be caught any time and thrown out!
I took my chance and made my way to the bogs sheepishly…. Same old mirror… same old taps….. only new thing was the geiser for hot water.
Well, I was here for a bath.. was I not? , but could not find the stupid switch for the heater. So settled for the cold water shower instead in January!. When I finished, I came out to the mirror section to comb whatever little hair I had!
I met a suspicious looking character about 50 years or so, with grey beard and more moustache than scalp hair, walking around blue jocks. Decided to challenge him (after all, attack the best form of defense is it not? ).He said that he was the barber Pandian and he was wondering who the hell I was!
When I told him I used the same bogs some 42 years ago; he said his dad Nathan was the barber whom I remembered very well (who could forget him? as fresher, we used to be packed off to him to have the ‘crew cut’ during ‘ ragging’ in the olden days).Even the barber shop is at the same place – at the foot of the stairs from block D.
To record my historic visit and my ability to sneak past the security guys half my age, I took a picture with Pandian who wanted to cover his lower torso, but then I assured him I could certainly handle a camera; after all this is what I do for a living.
On the way back, the security guards did not think it worthwhile even to cast a glance, a quick jaunt across Edward vault and there I was at the wedding reception at 7 pm prim and proper!