I was just buying a cigarette today and saw a few what I assume were college guys or fresh out of college guys sitting on their bikes and smoking at 10 am, most of them unshaven and unbathed and laughing and giggling without a care in the world. Watching them I just didn’t want to go….
Watching them reminded me of my days at our our adda (hangout) at Bharuch, we named the place “Anna”,. It was owned by a Keralite named JOY he used to sell Chai(tea), Narang Vallam(lemonade / limbu pani), small banana’s and a lot of other Kerala food products apart from Colddrinks, biscuits and most Importantly Cigarettes.
When college finished and we didn’t have any jobs, nor enough percentages to get into MBA’s we spent a few months directionless. This store was our hangout in our unemployed times. (Golden times actually)
Mornings used to always start very early for me, I some how cannot sleep late, 5-6 hours of sleep is enough for me. I would wait for the newspaper and the moment the newspaper would come I would be onto it before my dad could get hold of it. Then on to the sports page once done I would religiously copy off all the relevant addresses of job advertisements and write it on envelopes and put my already printed CV in the envelope. That done I would get ready and start calling some one or the other to pick me up and lets go to Anna’s.
In those days I didn’t have a two wheeler and friends who had two wheelers always used to be late. Me being the impatient type would eventually walk to Anna’s which was a good 20 min brisk walk, as staying in the house for too long would get me into the same argument with my parents who would tell me to start any job right away and not wait for the right one. They weren’t particularly pleased with my academic record, neither was I. But than I didn’t deserve anything better.
In three years of college in M.S.U. in Vadodara (MSU = Maharaja Sayaji Rao University though we called it Marriage Setting University) I attended 5 lectures. 4 lectures were attended in the first year and the 5th was after Diwali in third year when my girl friend gave me her kasam to attend the lecture. 15 minutes into the lecture the professor noticed me and asked,
Prof : “First Time ? ”
Me : “Uh Yes !” (trying to look sincere)
Prof : “No point in sitting dear boy, you won’t gather anything I say. Its better you leave.”
Me (stunned) : “Well rite.” I got up and just walked off without a care in the world.
It would be an insult if I pleaded to sit in the class in front of my wife, who was my girlfriend then, it would be so so humiliating.
Eventually I passed out of college B.com Third class. Remarkably I never failed in my entire school life or college life nor did I ever get an ATKT. (ATKT = Allowed To Keep Term)
God was always kind enough on me !!!
Anyways this isn’t about college this post was meant to be about our hang out. Well once at “Anna” the day would start with Choti(small) Gold Flake which would cost Rs. 1 in those days the moment a bike was found parked around, I would park my ass on the bike and lie down with my head at the meter and puff and smoke… waiting for friends to come and join. Usually wearing a khadi kurta, jeans and floaters with goggles…looking really messy and ragged without shaving. Whole day at Anna was the plan !!
As friends would join, the round of cigarettes would keep getting repeated. Most of the time guys would be scared to go near the shop and buy anything, if they would do it they would ensure that no one would see them, as the moment some one was caught buying something he would get lots of other orders.
“ Mere liye ek cigarette !!” (a cigarette for me)
“Mere liye bhi !!” (for me too)
“Mere liye ek pani ka pouch !!” (water pouch for me)
Darn if you are caught, your Re 1 cigarette would cost you atleast Rs. 20 !!!!
Suddenly some beautiful girl would pass on her moped and every one would be like “dekh dekh” (see, see) , one of our friend Akshay would kick into action at this point.(this friend of mine weighs over 100kgs and is 5’6”) So you can imagine his physique, he would kick start his LML vespa and off he would go behind her… some times me some times some one else behind him. He would go behind the girl for a while trying to give her a glimpse of himself in her rear view mirror. Than overtake her, no he wouldn’t glance back at her after overtaking her as it is indecent to turn and ogle !!! (chasing her was a different story) After overtaking her at the next available opportunity he would take a U turn and we would be back at Anna. Don’t know what contentment he got out of this but that would happen whole day. Just incase you are getting late and you ask Akshay
“Mane ghare chodi de ..” (drop me home)
“Reserve ma che.”( the petrol is only minimal)
no matter how serious your work is the answer will be the same and it will never change. Suddenly another girl will pass and again the scooter will be kick started.
Silly jokes, stupid gossip, pranks etc would keep on happening. Throwing water on each other or arm wrestling or remembering movie names or teasing each other something or the other used to occupy us…..
A large time we would spend lying on bikes singing songs & smoking…
Three of the favourite songs at our adda :
1. Solah Baras ki baali umar ko salaam, ae Pyaar teri Pehli nazar ko salaam….
2. Salaame Ishq meri jaan zara kabool kar lo, tum humse pyaar karne ki zara si bhool kar lo…
3. I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, think about it night and day, spread my wings and fly away…
We used to completely sing the whole song… the whole song okay…
Jaane kaha gaye woh din…!!!! (where did those days go !!!)
Hours would fly here…. Wish those days would come back for a change….. Today when I go to Bharuch I always visit Anna, ask Joy how he is and how his family is keeping. Most of the friends who used to frequent the place are now working and past 30 years of age in life. Some have left the city some are in the city and only come late in the evening at Anna.
There are times in life when you want to go back, go back to times when there was no work, no responsibility, when you had loads of time for friends and the friends had time for you….
Who is inventing the Time Machine ?? He better finish his job faster !!!! I can’t wait ….