Blast from the Past

Nostalgically thinking of my 7 closest IIT hostel buddies during 1983-87 and BFFs since!

We had a Zoom Reunion last week as 4 of the 7 met up in Karjat at a place we had all gone to in 1985. We all wore T shirts, specially crafted for the reunion, courtesy of Sanjeev Paidhungat.

Zoom Reunion November 2021 – Amit, Sanjeev Paidee SV, Divakar Sawant, Alkesh Wadhwani, Uday Rao, Nelson R

The notation on the T-shirt is elucidated as below :
Hostel 8 A2L =
“A” Wing
2nd Floor
Lake View (Powai)

Specially crafted Uniform for Reunion
Four Memorable Events from circa 1985

The IIT campus is nestled between two lakes, the other one, Virar provides Greater Mumbai’s water supply via the pipelines on the iconic North South Tulsi Pipeline road. Denizens of the city are blissfully unaware of what transpires at the source of their drinking water. I shall let sleeping dogs lie!

But I digress.

The Magnificent Seven had come together in the first week of entering the Institute, by chance allotted to H8, even though we were to study different Engineering streams. A random Algorithm, probably not generated on the EC1030 (the Mainframe Computer), had inexorably linked our lives together.

Securing single rooms in A2L Wing in the second month of hostel-life was one of our early victories in IIT’s competitive environment. It was a privileged accommodation with a fabulous green view – a thicket through which we had glimpses of Powai Lake, even though it was vastly over-run by Weevils.

Our neighbouring Wing (A2R) offered a desultory Road View and while residents of “B” , “C” and “D” Wings would make hyperbolic claims about the advantages of their location, our vantage supremacy was widely acknowledged. While we used binoculars to study flora, fauna and a scenic vista from our windows, our friends in D Wing were notorious for using DIY peeping devices for their anthropological studies. The D Wing overlooked the abode of some married students (unsuspecting Post Graduates). I will not venture into a debate on who learned more about the birds and the bees!

In the first photo, I am being unceremoniously pushed off our 2nd Floor corridor ledge. I am perched precariously on an unseen tiny gargoyle, with the basketball court invitingly 30 feet below me! I cannot recall what specifically I did to trigger my mates to attempt such a violent attack, but such daily hostel activities were par for the course.

The boat featured in the second frame is at Wellington during a fortnight long South trip to Bangalore, Coonoor and Ooty in the summer of 84. Alkesh’s dad was Commandant of Navy Academy and we got to enjoy the hospitality as only the Services offer. To burn off the Old Monk Rum, we had, one afternoon, climbed Mt Dodabetta, the highest peak in the Nilgiris.

The James Bond photo is with our Wing car (registered in the name of Diwakar Sawant ). It sometimes ferried upto 20 students to class, those hostel mates late for the first lecture. At 827 am, it used to speed up the campus road, sometimes toppling struggling cyclists and pedestrians (the plebs) on our frantic scramble to class. After all, the driver, even if awake, had no space or view with boys squashed inside and outside, all over the vehicle!

The final frame reflects a celebration of Mood Indigo, the IITB cultural Festival (my main education in the 4 years, an initiation into all good things in life, including my then girlfriend Gauri Shrivastava Gupta)

Sweet memories!

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