Home 2022 Shape of Things That Were

Shape of Things That Were

by Arun Kaul
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Artwork by Prof. Arun Inamdar

Arun Kaul H4, C76 Aero is famous for:

  1. Riding to classes on horseback and “parking” the horse in the cycle shed.
  2. Creating and singing brilliant parodies on the fly. Remember his “Aaloo bhari hai…” Sung to the tune of “Aansoo bhari hai…”?
  3. Generating a massive controversy in IITB about the need to have a course on organic chemistry for wannabe aircraft designers. He ducked organic chemistry endlessly to highlight this point.

Here is a recount by Arun about the “excesses” indulged in by his contemporaries in H4. Straight from the horse’s…er…horse rider’s mouth.

Have you ever wondered what happened when the story ended with ‘and they lived  happily ever after’?

Or after the hero ‘faded away into the sunset…’?

How about ‘He finally graduated from IITB, got a cushy job and lived a prosperous life’? Does the story really end there?

You know and I know that it doesn’t. But certainly, an epoch, a phase of your story does  end. As you get immersed in a totally new kind of experience, you start forgetting all the  trauma of exams, of nightmares of quizzes and tests, of being constantly out of money  and of the atrocious mess food. You also forget the good things. It certainly happened  with me. I forgot H4, I forgot the skits and plays, the songs, the surreptitious swimming  in the Vihar Lake, the fun and friends I had. I even forgot the Horse episode till my  forgotten friends reminded me.

 

 

Now, after nearly five decades, the time has come to remember.

The time has come”, the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things
“Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
“Of cabbages and kings”

The time has come to remember Holi at H4, to remember the beer at RK and RLC.

Does anybody remember the party Limsey gave at RK when he got a job?

There were eight of us, including Limsey, Manu, Pada, Gads, Stanley.  Anyway, we went for dinner at RK and sat in the section where he used to serve Punjabi  food and beer (London Pilsner- 2 bucks a bottle). The party went on till past midnight  and we consumed 42 bottles among 6 of us, Pada and Gads were teetotalers. On the way  back, while walking past Wardie’s house, Manu suddenly decided that he needed to discuss something with him. All of us thought it to be quite natural. We solemnly trooped in and the Warden also quite sportingly let us all in in the middle of  the night. About five minutes later, I started feeling sick and asked Pada to take me out.  He did. We came out, I threw up and lay on the culvert, exhausted. Within the next five  minutes every one was out lying on the culverts or the road. But not Manu. He came out, did his thing and walked right back in. When he did it the third or fourth time, Wardie  also came out and saw us all lying.

“What did you have?”

“Beer sir”.

“Arre tum log beer mein itne out ho jaate ho? When I was your age we used to party on  the Country liquor. Should I drop you at the hostel in my car?”

“No sir, we’ll manage”.

We managed all right. Although, it took Pada and Gads the whole night to escort us one  or two at a time to the hostel.

We had made some very tasty Bhang in the mess as we did on every Holi. The  sweet milk fortified with almonds, cashews and poppy seeds, and of course Bhang leaves, is a delicious concoction. And chilled too. Then there was that secret ingredient – a one  paisa copper coin!

How innocent it looks! After all, it is only milk. What kind of kick can that give? Well, the kick of Bhang is not really a kick. It sort of creeps up on you little by little and then completely grips you. The nasha just lasts and lasts. Most people expect to get high immediately as with booze and many of them drank glass after glass,  showing off their ‘capacity’. I was one of the few who were scared of getting too high and had only one glass. After breakfast we marched off to other Hostels and particularly to the Ladies hostel, as it was called then. The Holi march ended at Vihar Lake, where we  went for the forbidden swim.

By the time  we reached Vihar, Bhang nasha was in full force and most people were either laughing  uncontrollably or crying quietly. I was covered in a warm glow, where all the colors were  more colorful, the sunshine was sunnier and the water was more wet, if that is possible. I went into the water with my chappals on. I justified it to myself, saying that it will protect  my tender feet from the sharp stones in the lake. I also laughed at myself at the same time  for the ridiculous idea.

Most guys were not so fortunate. One guy, (one of those with ‘high capacity’), I have  forgotten his name though I can still see him in my mind’s eye, was screaming “Mere pet  mein Blast Furnace jal rahi hai”. Yes, you guessed it – he was in the Metallurgy Department.

We laughed at him at first but soon found that he was deadly earnest and shit scared.  We tried to explain and convince him but nothing doing. I then got a brain wave. I took  him to the bathroom and made him stand under the shower with his mouth open.

“Dekho ab blast furnace thandi ho rahi hai ke nahin?”

“Haan kucch kucch ho toh rahi hai.” 

After about half an hour of this dousing the blast furnace, his aag got cooled and so did  our Bhang ka Nasha. I wonder if he remembers it. I doubt it because he fell asleep and  slept the day, the night and the next day.

Epilogue

And what about RLC?

Woh kissa phir kabhi. It is a long story featuring Friday evening movies, dry dinners, fluid intake measurements and a lot of moral decisions. We will leave that for the long  monsoon afternoons when you are cooped up in your living rooms eating pakoras and  drinking hot tea.

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