Sunday, March 03, 2013

Dedication Post

I started this out as a post in Facebook, but decided to blog as my days at college deserve one more post. It is dedicated to one of my best friends.

Happy Birthday Bhageshvar Mohan.

There are a thousand admirable things that makes him the man of action that he is- I have never seen someone so doggedly determined, so street smart and oh, so precocious, right from the first year of college. We spent hours lamenting incessantly about our circumstances- but he always pulled things together and gave hope to the rest of us in our gang, that things will eventually work out.

But I really need to make this dedication about food here considering how much of our gang's time and money was spent in the pursuit of good food.
Srivatsan Varadharajan, Bhageshvar Mohan and I would often take bus No.2 during weekends, to the railway station about 10 KMs away from my college. The tiny street opposite to the station beheld Geetha Cafe along with other shady looking restaurants. At Geetha cafe, we used to immerse ourselves in the Brahminical joys of Paruppu Rasam and More Kozhambu while watching Bhagesh polish his plantain leaf with clinical precision. 

We would then slowly waddle back, sweltering in the midday sun, into "CS meals" to have lemon soda. We would then walk up till Gangotri where the coffee guy would make one medium strong and one extra strong/extra sugar coffee for Bhagesh and me, while Srivatsan would have his ginger tea. Sometimes, we sauntered off to "Chocolate room" with its pricey food, just to have coffee (the cheapest thing on the menu) and bitch about the rich kids around us who had so much money to afford such expensive food.

On really long days, we would take the Gandhipuram bus, get down at Women's Polytechnic and would arrive at Krishna mess with gusto. We would consume plates and plates of Ghee Pongal/Kolaai Puttu/Vadai/Pesarattu  before we started our tales of woes. We would  drown the sorrows of labs, records, hostels and the other associated miseries of our 19 year old lives, into the Godlike sweetness of Kalkandu (Rock Candy) milk.

And about a zillion times during the course of college, we had our meals at Anandas replete with Vathakozhabu and Keerakootu. There was Thatha, of "thatha mess" who used to read my Computer Communication exam question paper right after the exam, with more interest than I had shown during the exam. It was at this time when Bhagesh used to order a  tea from Royal Bakes for five bucks and spend hours piggy backing on the Wifi from the internet cafe above. At this point I have to interject that he was one of the first in our gang to have a phone that actually connected to Wifi. It was this phone that I used to incessantly check my inbox for Google results.

 Occasionally, Chandru would accompany us, but he was too attached to his Paati's filter coffee to come with us all the time. Ela was one of the other guest appearances in our entourage.

RHR idly shop with its famous podi onion oothappams and Jigardhandas made malfunctioning circuit boards and the "outputs" that never manifested, much easier to deal with. Dosa Plaza, Agarwal sweets for Vada Pav/Pani Puri, Boomerang, early morning coffees at Caramel before mock CATs, podi dosa at Aaryas Peelamedu, Chandini for Paneer Butter Masala, Annapoorna Sambar, Rasagulla at Chowpatti at Big Bazaar- We hand picked our meals.We even ate in hospital canteens. Many an evening was spent at GKN hospital canteens, some in Arvind eye hospital and a few in PSG Hospital. This would gross out Chandru and many of our other friends who never understood how people can eat in hospital cafes for pleasure.

We made our own money to finance our food exploits, something I am proud of until today. We scraped work, attended arbitrary quizzes, talent shows (:-|) and heck, we even wrote content for websites. Till date, I can never look at Abercrombie and Fitch without getting nauseated. In our second year, we wrote so much bullshit for this website that sold A&F. Bhagesh had a flair for stocks. Can you think of a 19 year old boy staking all his college fee in Satyam stocks when it hit 1 Rupee and selling all of it the next day when it hit 3? He did that and it paid for our gang's Ghee roasts for the next 6 months.

I am not going into the depths of our loyalty to Jenney and how much we contributed to its growth. It is heart wrenching to write about the food in Coimbatore, despite being drowned by food at Google.

 I have a bunch of other things to thank Bhagesh for - for being such a willing partner in crime and for putting up with our gang's eccentricities and sometimes egging our madness on. I can never forget the day we whipped up a business plan sitting at "Royal Bakes", on a tissue paper and actually pushed it till the finals at this ruddy competition in CEG- just in a day. One just needed to ask Bhagesh to execute plans to perfection. During Brahma (our quiz club's national level contest), we raised nearly a 1,00,000 INR in less than two weeks, bang in the middle of recession when our regular sponsors backed out. I still smile when I think of Chandru describing Bhagesh's haggling tactics with Stanley, the backdrop vendor for Brahma

To think back, we were a bunch of geeks (still are), each obsessing about the future and making grand plans with no idea on how hard it was going to be. But I guess we were never boring. We were always in the thick of things and cooked up very interesting schemes for the heck of it. Hey, we even built a robot for money. We were probably the only bunch from college who went to Goa, with all the "Goa!" fanfare, hated the place instantly and ended up searching for Pure-Vegetarian restaurants; the most exciting time of the said holiday was  rushing back to BITS Goa hostel from Colva beach so as not to miss the Boondhi Raitha at the college cafe. It is like this. Equate Boondhi Raita to the cardboard box

 But we had each others' back and pushed each other through what we thought was important at that time. CIT would not have been same without these guys. 

As they say, you are an average of your five best friends. I am.

Again, here is to Bhagesh and to better food for the rest of the year!


Ashmur said...

Awesome dedication to an awesome guy and a wonderful group :-) I had the good fortune of roaming around with this group on a few occasions on account of being around with Chandru during quizzes :-)Nostalgic :-)

Uttara Ananthakrishnan said...

Thanks Ashwin :)