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Community Living

by Jyotsna Vijapurkar
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Photo courtesy: Neena Majumdar

IITB was my first experience of community living. There was very little of ‘this is mine’.

It was also my first experience of hikes. Many newbies like me landed there with no idea at all of hiking gear (or even of the kind of hiking that was a regular feature of weekends at IIT). But that was never a problem at the hostel. There was a pair of Bata hunters that were kept in the corridor, lord knows who the original owner was and how long ago she had worn them. Or how many had used those on their first hike, and either decided it was not for them, or got hooked and got their own pair.

But if you were new, and just wanted to give it a shot, then you were Cinderella for that day. If the shoe fit, off you went! Considering that each ‘trial hike’er had worn it just once or twice,  by the looks of those hunters, that hostel must have had quite many Cinderellas pass through its portals!

Then there was this bicycle that belonged to VS Vijaya. It belonged to her in the sense that she was the one who owned it and brought it to H10. Thereafter, in true hostel spirit, it was everyone’s bike, for one and all to use.  A hostel bike.

So on one adventurous weekend when Meenakshi Rao and I  decided to ride to Kanheri caves, I borrowed the hostel bike as I didn’t have mine. All was fine until the return which involved a long down slope. The bike kept accelerating. And I could not reign it in. The brakes were useless. I finally rode off the road, had a fall, and cracked a rib. Landed in the hospital, after landing in the bushes first.

Back in the hostel, VSV said casually and somewhat incredulously..”but everyone knows this bike’s brakes don’t work”. And I had to find out first hand!

But here’s the magic of Time…it heals, yes. But it is the alchemist that converts a crack to a tickle. I now find the story rib tickling.

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