The First Encounter With (Senior) God



"Hey you! Where are you from?" a thin-framed, near-baldhead asked, looking at me with piercing eyes. I was in the midst of filling out my admission forms. My Local Guardian (LG) had just stepped away to meet one of his friends in the college.

"I am from Madras. And you?" I asked, looking at him askance in the eye, with a tinge of irritation, as he had diverted me from my paper work.

I broke a few cardinal rules right there.

First, I looked a Senior God into his eyes. The divinity of his eyes ought to have burned me to ashes - I must have narrowly escaped, and live to tell the tale.

Second, I referred to my city without mentioning the state first, almost causing a constitutional crisis.

Third, I asked a senior a question! I mean, how dare I?

"Hi, I am RK Ramesh (name changed)" he introduced himself magnanimously, extending his hand out for a handshake.

"Just arrived? Lots for you to learn on how you talk to seniors" he said, somewhat vaguely.

He glanced around furtively and whispered, "Look, if someone comes and asks you what I am doing, you should tell him I am helping you fill the application, OK?" I nodded.

"Can you guess my state?" Ramesh asked.

"No" I said with a polite smile, thinking he would take it as a compliment that his state was unguessable.

"No??" he asked puzzled. He looked around, once again, and asked me "Tamizh aa?" My face blossomed like a lotus flower, hearing a word of Tamil, after nearly forty-eight hours.

"Tamilnadu?" I asked him, answering the earlier question. Ramesh laughed. Just then a guy came over and Ramesh spoke to him, at length, in Telugu. After he left, he turned around to me and said, "Now, you will I say, I am from Andhra!"

Before I took leave of him, he had spoken in six different languages to various people (show off!), and told me he was from Sikkim.

Just who was this guy?

He reminded me of the protagonist from an old Tamil movie "Naan Avan Illai" ("I am Not Him"). Gemini Ganesan (father of Bollywood actress Rekha) plays a conman that speaks a dozen languages.
When he refuses to divulge information about himself, despite third-degree torture, the police device a brilliant plan (to the extent that was possible in the 1960's). They wake up Gemini in the middle of the night, and rough him up. The element of surprise will definitely make him speak his mother tongue, the chief police officer theorizes. Those were the days, when Tamilnadu police were next only to Scotland Yard (a dialog from another movie. I know, we take our movies way too seriously).
Anyway, Gemini Ganesan, ever the enigma even in real life, when woken up, blurts out something in Chinese!

What language would Ramesh speak when woken up from sleep? I was dying to find out.

"Today is fine. But I want to meet you, once you are more oriented to the ways of our college, OK?" he said, before he left. I nodded my head, unaware that within the next hour I would receive a crash-course on the "ways of our college" from the senior gods at the hostel, liberally sprinkled with tight slaps on my meek cheeks.

So, who was the first senior that you met? And what was that first encounter like?

24 comments:

  1. Ok, empty shop as usual. Let me kick-start the proceedings. I expect a fair share of the proceeds if and when your stories get published.

    The First Day

    For all the build-up of the previous chapters, the admission process proved to be a damp squib. Honestly, I have only a vague recollection of the sequence of events. Most likely, we first met the Deputy Registrar for an introduction followed by registration, verification of certificates, payment of fees and stuff and allocation of hostel etc. The one thing that I do remember is my first visit to LH. I may, in fact, hold the unparalleled distinction of visiting LH on the very day of my admission! During the next four years I visited LH only a couple of more times and that too ‘accidentally’ in the company of the evergreen Gautham and/ or Abou who used to get a kick out of seeing me squirming in the presence of the fairer sex. Also, I might probably be the first and the last fresher to have visited LH royally escorted by his father!

    A certain Ms. Deepa Gopalan was a close relative of my father’s close friend. The lady in question was in the second year and resident in LH. Thus happened my first meeting with a senior goddess, not god, outside the LH gate. Deepa was a gregarious person and I- in spite of a normally impervious shell- was soon chatting away happily. She quickly summarized the likely events for the next few months and told me what to expect and what not to expect during my stay in the hostel. She did mention ragging but did not go into the nitty-gritties as she probably did not want my dad to get perturbed. I remember she also gave me a couple of text books which she said would come in handy in the first semester.

    After this meeting we proceeded to the hostel to meet the hostel superintendent. The formalities were completed and soon it was time to say good bye to my father. He accompanied me to my room. Only one other fresher was in the room. I later learned his name was Sivakumar and he was from Hyderabad. When we entered the room he bowed his head and wished us. I was not unaccustomed to this kind of reverential behavior where I came from, but even I found it strange when he continued to look down. I thought he was maybe suffering from a stiff neck! I extended my hand and introduced myself. It was then that he looked up cautiously and after seeing my father gave me a wry smile. He offered his hand to me and then to my father. He pointed out one corner of the room which was not yet occupied and I understood that was going to be my place in the scheme of things. Siva had tactfully occupied the corner at the far end and so had the other guy who was also from Tamilnadu. I understood later that my corner was the closest to the door and left me more vulnerable to attacks. Generally, having expended most of their energies on me the seniors would not bother much with the others. The other corner near the door was occupied by a handsome and hunky Bangladeshi who-by virtue of being a foreigner-was left alone as was the protocol.
    I bid adieu to my father. There was a big lump in my throat. With an effort I swallowed it, held back my tears (I was a man...well almost one) and assured my father that I would be fine. He patted me on my back and wished me good luck. He was to board the train the next day.
    My roomie started giving me the lowdown on hostel life, terms of engagement with the seniors, what kind of ragging was going on etc. and with every passing minute the churning in my stomach only worsened.
    Then came the inevitable sound from the door, which I would learn to dread for the next 2-3 months.
    Bang! Bang!

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    1. Krishna, Start your own blog man! I will be a regular visitor. Your chai is really good! Interesting story about your senior moment.

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    2. I am dreading the very idea of reading more about your encounters with seniors , Krish and Puttindies..
      My son is about to start his hostel life and the very thought of the kind of ragging you all went through gives me that feeling of sinking into a black void !

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    3. Hey hey hey! I gotta be careful with these chemical fellas and fellis.

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  2. Enzaayed reading. I joined a month late so missed the major ragging period. But had my share of senior god and junior dog moments. I'll share soon.

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    1. Oh, hi @Anandi. I risk getting a kick on my backside but I can't place you in my memory. Pray disclose your branch and which place you belonged to. Are you there in the REC whatsapp group?

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    2. It's Seshu. Relax Krishna the charmer

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    3. Hey...hey! Don't say bad things about my blog. In fact, the way you are writing all these long stories, I may ask you to run the shop...and just tweak your essays slightly to add some humor to it ;-) (just returning the favor!).

      "Fair share of the proceeds"? Don't put the cart before the horse man. Just do your karma and don't worry about the fruits (can't believe I am quoting the Gita to Krishna!).

      Seriously, Krishna, another great story...had fun reading it! Great going. Continue to keep us enthralled with your stories. Your encounters with seniors, I remember, were legendary! Expecting to hear more of that!

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  3. Wish I had a elephants memory to recollect who was the first god or goddess I met when I first joined college. I remember the 6 seater room which was alloted to six of us and that was our den sans all senior goddesses.. The moment we step out of the den, we became mouse put out head down to avoid any eye contact with any of the goddesses around.. the fun used to be in the common room where we all were called and asked to perform be it a song or a dance - anything we could.. Our goddesses were kind you see.. there was one particular soul who had to laugh at the slightest provocation and her laugher was infectious... Hiding out laughter in front of the goddesses was the toughest I would say....we would be longing to get back to our den and roar......

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    1. Did you just call me a elephant?!! Just because my waistline is expanding by the minute doesn't mean you can poke fun at me like this.

      Oh! Goddesses didn't like eye contact as well?! Wow. Don't blame them...it is the power of their eyes.

      "Laugh at the slightest provocation" - hmm...is this who I think it is?!

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    2. Sangeeta, I can imagine the trouble the laughing soul probably got into.... glad she was not male, or she would have been killed during ragging.

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  4. Nice story Puttu! At least the guy was nice to you in that first meeting. Were you friends with him later? I like the Gemini Ganeshan story. You should have really tried the wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night routine with Ramesh... we would have had more fun reading about the aftermath.

    I had no senior moment, except the one from counselling that I already mentioned.... all seniors avoided me like the plague and I had very soon developed a serious complex. Not that I had any delusions of popularity, but I thought someone would like to rag me or at least ask me my name.

    One Goddess tried to rag me a little. she had lent me a book, not because I asked for it, but because one of her senior guys took it from her and gave it to me. She tried to bully me over it, while telling the senior guy that she didn't need it back. That is the extent of my interactions with gods and goddesses.

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    1. Wasn't she the same Deepa Gopalan Krish mentioned ??

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    2. I was trying to be polite and keep names out. But I do appreciate her for giving me some tiny bit of excitement. That and Mayank looking down at us for not doing our assignment were the only exciting events I remember from First year.

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    3. Lol...Oh you are the polite one of the two? Difficult to tell!

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  5. Am curious to know about your second encounter with this RK Ramesh ...@Puttindies

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    1. I don't remember. I do remember that he instigated a riot in a railway station once. Quite a character he was!

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    2. And what about your story???

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Hilarious story Puttu!! Very visual. I was smiling all through. But honestly, I was hoping you didn't restrict your story to the first encounter - one can never be satisfied with the tip of an iceberg, which is just 1/3rd of the story!

    As for my first encounter, I have no recollection. All I remember is being reprimanded once by a Senior God for not looking down and walking. As for the Senior Goddesses, like Sangeeta already mentioned, we had a formal sit-down ragging session with them in the common room where each one of us was asked to sing and dance and ... basically perform something. I remember excelling in it. So enthralled was I that that's all I did for the next 4 years in college - sing and dance! I have ample proof of it in my mark sheets!!

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    1. For the other encounters, you would have to wait for the book!

      "Formal, sit-down" session, eh? Wow!

      Singing and dancing is all good! So, don't worry about the mark sheets. No one looks at them now.

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  7. The first senior God that I met was "Siva, the Great, Greater and Greatest".. Was sitting alone at admission as had traveled alone from home.. This senior gives me a hero and villain look at the same time and starts conversation.. After few minutes, I am in the hostel eating with him.. I was wondering what a great gentleman he is..

    After getting into hostel, the same senior God kept a tab on me and educated me into world spirits.. With me coming from Tax free Liquor union territory requested me to smuggle one Whiskey bottle out of my home town during first Durga Puja holidays.. Before this request, he made friendship so aggressively by interacting with me on daily basis (Ragging is another channel to make friendship)..

    Once back from holidays, he was so gentleman again that he said he cannot drink alone and said me to just taste a sip. A sip lead to 20 years plus of drinking only whiskey neat (no ice, water, sodas, etc).. Just plain.. Hats off, my friend.. Long Live Kidneys..

    Our friendship grew strong and stronger and ever lasting.. The first senior God this Junior Dog met .. Long Live God-doG friendship...

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    1. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€. Too funny!!!

      God-dog friendship๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€!!! So Darwinian!!

      The “impact” that Siva had on people, especially juniors, was profound. No doubt about that!!

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  8. This is very interesting content! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your points and have come to the conclusion that you are right about many of them. You are great. Website

    ReplyDelete

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