All bad memories are bad. But all good memories are not always good either; because unlike good times, they last forever and make you yearn for things that you can never retrieve…
Take me, for instance.
In 1989, on the last day of my PG studies in Delhi University, when I boarded the U-Special on my way home, I thought I would never have to look back again on this phase of my life.
But no, I discovered later that I was perpetually looking for reasons to pass through the same corridors and tree-lined avenues again. Not because of what I studied, which was not of much use anyway, but because of all those wonderful people who enriched my life during those years and the many ‘firsts’ I experienced because of them; my life’s first date…My first trip to the iconic Chanakya Cinema to watch the Oscar-awarded Hollywood film ‘The Last Emperor; it felt like walking through a fairyland; my first visit to the Mughal Garden with my friend Seema on our birthday. Her birthday was on the same date as mine. Walks through the lonely Ridge with my classmate Pallavi. My poetry’s very first fan Geeta who loved to critique my poems and always motivated me to keep writing…The music of ghunghroo in someone’s Payal, chumm, chumm, chumm, piercing the silence of a library…
All those little things now keep appearing in front of my eyes again and again, like little treasures at a beach emerging from deep within the heart of a boundless ocean….
I hope and pray that wherever those friends are at present, they are happy, successful, and content.
On 7 August 2018, my daughter Suroshri mentioned casually if I could accompany her during her M.A. (English) admission at DU’s Arts Faculty.
“Because you were with me during B.A. Admission too.”
I was only too happy to do so and it was my weekly off anyway. So there was nothing to stop me and that’s how I got the chance to walk through the corridors of the Arts Faculty again after so many years.
After she was through, we had our home-made brunch on a seat under a tree. It felt just like the old times at the university.
During our walk around the place, I was pleasantly surprised to see that now there are far more trees and greenery in this area than before. See the pics below.
But the number of wide open spaces has decreased because of infrastructure expansion, which is sad but inevitable because of the huge, burgeoning demand to create more and more seats in a central university as overvalued as Delhi University. Its popularity, I think, has a lot to do with its reasonable, affordable fee structure and its emphasis on complete transparency through complete digitalization in its operations.
The P.G. library, in particular, where I spent several hours at studies, I noticed, was locked from outside. I felt a bit disappointed when I saw this, but I think they have probably shifted the library somewhere else and utilized the space for some other purpose.
I clicked lots of pics that day. See them below. It gave me a lot of satisfaction, since we had no access to cameras in those days and the only photos I have of those days are the ones that exist inside my head.
Suroshri (in front) & I
More trees and greenery now…
The pic below is of a building which is locked from outside. During my student days, this used to be the PG Library.
Strikes are a perennial feature of Delhi University, especially in the North Campus. This one is of the Library staff demanding salary hikes.
Some inspiring posters…
This poster says in Hindi, “Greatness doesn’t lie in never falling, but in getting up each time you fall.”
Smart, air-conditioned Metro trains have now taken the place of old, rickety, and unreliable U-Specials manned by surly drivers and conductors. (Before the advent of the Metro, there used to be special DTC buses, called U-Specials, exclusively for DU students).
This pic is of the Vishwavidyala Metro Station, which is located on Mall Road, right outside the North Campus.
I do fervently hope that my daughter gets to apply the knowledge she gains from this University and like me, she gets lots of happy memories she can continue to cherish.
Little birds such as sparrows, whom you could see hopping around earlier in pairs have gone extinct in Delhi. You just can’t find them anywhere. But ever since I started travelling daily for work to Noida, which is a border town of Delhi, I found, to my pleasant surprise, that they still exist here. Take a look at this pic. It was clicked on one rainy day, from a spot right outside my office building. There are so many little birds sitting on the electric wires overhead…
This year also, we celebrated Durga Puja (19-23 October 2015) in Timarpur. While walking to the pandal and back to the guest house, I took some random shots of the surrounding greenery with my mobile phone. I got amazing results and it gives me great pleasure to share the pics here on my blog. Look at the photo on the top and see how the branches intertwine to form a canopy over people walking below them…
Timarpur is the oldest government residential colony in Delhi. It was established in the pre-independence era. Unlike other government colonies, most of the area remains untouched and undeveloped since it was first established. That’s why it seems to have an old world charm. Most people who live here are either tenants or the original allotees of the government flats.
With lots of wide, open streets, rich greenery, tall trees as old as the colony itself, the place gives you the feel of a fairy tale with all the elements of good and evil. There are, of course, a few patches of slum areas and the usual traffic. But the noise and pollution level seem to be comparatively less and there seems to be a general sense of all-pervasive peace and calmness.
We lived as tenants in Timarpur for 2 years till 1994, but we keep returning to Timarpur every year during Puja. My family members were government servants and were one of the earliest residents of Timarpur who played a prominent role in helping the Puja continue year after year. Our family tradition is still continuing till date and by the grace of Ma Durga, we always manage to find accommodation somehow near the pandal during those 5 days of Puja. My 19-year-old daughter says that she cannot imagine herself enjoying Durga Puja at any other pandal. So I guess the tradition will go on in future as well.