Monday, April 17, 2006

The Conspiracy....

The past four weeks were the most demanding time of my college life. Full of adventure, hard work, celebration and conspiracy that I believe only PU can offer. Due to such ups and down and excessive workload I was unable to post for a long time. So this post will cover most of the important events that happened in the last month or so.

First up is trekking. For a long time the technical committee was supposed to go for a trek at the outskirts of Chandigarh, somewhere beyond the Sukhna Lake. But for about a month and a half this plan was rescheduled, postponed and at some point of time it seemed to be cancelled. On 17th when I was returning from Delhi, I got a sms from one of the members of the technical committee if I would like to go for the trek the very next day. It was really surprising and I had least expected it on that day. At first I was not interested as I was really tired at that time since I was returning back after a 24 hour mission from Delhi. But obviously I had never experienced something like that before, so at that time I reluctantly agreed to join in. But everything was normal the next morning apart from my right knee which was still paining following the previous days exercise. Just as usual Mr. Dara calls us long before we are actually required. And similarly in the usual manner I trust him and reached my department on-time. Although it was supposed to be especially for the Technical Committee, one or two people who were not a part of the committee also accompanied us. Only 6 committee members turned up as the information reached us at such a short notice and most of them had prior commitments. We left after about an hour or too, when Harish sir arrived. Two cars stuffed with 11 people started from the campus. One of the cars belonged to a guy who is a reputed rash driver. Drives at the speed that makes his Maruti 800 really give its best. The other car, an Alto, belonged to sir: slow and steady. After a lot of confusion, adjustment, compromise and disappointment it was decided who would take which car, and off we went. The place where we were heading is known as Kansal Reserve, located north of Chandigarh at the foothills of the mountains, about 8 kms from the University Campus. Kansal requires prior permission from the environment/forest department for visiting the place. Thanks to Rishabh Dara and Harish sir for getting the permission. The lodge which we were supposed to reach was about 4.5 kms inside the reserve area. After entering into the forest area we drove through an excellent environment natural forest, water bodies flowing right across the path, excellent scenery and foothills. Winding and bouncing we reached the lodge. The first thing we realized when we reached the top was that our mobile phones were out of network range. Sir enquired at the lodge and pointed out a few checkpoints and tracks which we can take for our trek. He could not accompany us as his wife had come along and she did not wish to trek. Now the fun started… 9 of us started along the track which was taken by lots before us. Within minutes my heart started pumping hard, my breath became shorter and more difficult… in short I was having a hard time walking along the path that steep. The ground was also full of variation sometimes loose sand, gravel rocky, hard etc. Climb till the first checkpoint was the toughest part for my body to handle. The checkpoint is nothing but sort of an open shade. After resting for a while there I felt much better. Now I started enjoying the trek. From the top of the checkpoint which was at a very good height, we could see an excellent view of the surrounding. Few water bodies, high ranges, forest cover etc. Our phones this time was receiving Himachal Pradesh network. After little walk ahead we deviated from the trekking track and started moving higher. Up, up and up. At every point we could see a point higher than us. We passed through extreme spots like thorny, rocky, loose soils narrow lanes with steep drop on both the sides. Jumping over wild bushes, branches and narrow gaps we kept moving and moving and after every major achievement we took a well deserved break. What we missed the most over there was water. One of us did carry some water: 400 ml. 400/9=44.44 ml for each one of us. Just enough to wet four of my incisors. Throughout the trek we kept sharing jokes; I believe I was the best at that. Things like remembers advertisements of Maruti…. “Maruti Ka Service Centre Hai Kya”?? and RedBull “Gives you wings”. We also went through wet and soggy places since there were many water-bodies which were checked by dams. The last climb was the best. We lost track of our way and Kshitij, a 4th year member suddenly decided to climb a steep hill from an arbitrary point. The climb was extremely tedious. The slope was just too much and the loose soil made the climb extremely difficult. The shrubs and roots of trees were the only support that we got. It took me about 20 minutes to climb that hill, so steep and so high. It seemed that I had conquered one of the highest peaks in the world. As soon as I reached the top I engraved my name in the soil… The Mark Of Souvik’s Presence. Finally after a lot of hard work we managed to find our way back to the lodge where Sir was eagerly waiting for us. Overall it was a fantastic experience that shall be cherished by me forever….

The next weekend we had our hostel annual function. I really like such events exclusively for hostellers. The Hostel fresher’s and Annual function are very similar, actually only the menu differs. We attended some of the cultural events organized by students residing in our hostel. Last year fresher’s party some shortage of food. So this time we had decided to go there early and take our share before any shortage takes place. All of us reached the mess beforetime and many others followed us. Hostellers do not like to miss out any chance of getting hold of good food. So we all picked up a plate and a spoon each. You would have definitely seen the movie Mr. India. And I am sure you remember how the children asked for food when they had run out of cereals: Banging the spoons onto the plates and screaming aloud “Calendar (Satish Kaushik), Khana Do”. A similar situation erupted in the mess hall, but this time there were a lot more than a dozen hungry children. The attendants had to really hurry and place the food before the students go violent. But this time the estimation was much better and there was no shortage of food… not even the ice-cream.

The Conspiracy:
Another event exclusive to Panjab University. You already know about the election scenario. One of the most important events in the University calendar, and the reasons I have already given out before. The campaigning and the promotion stuff have already begun for the elections of this year which is about 5 months away from now. Only this time it is not a campaigning based on the mechanisms which we have learned in Civics. One day we wake up in the morning and open up the headlines of the Times of Chandigarh. It says that our Student Union President Amandeep Singh was attempted to be shot at the Students Centre. But he was lucky enough to escape unhurt. The newspaper article also said that many students nearby in Students Centre and Library had heard gunshots and that one bullet went through the sleeve of one of the helpers at the nearby eatery. This issue was startling enough and what followed was!!##!@?? The next day about a dozen members of PUSU party (The one to which Amandeep belonged) came to our classes and requested us to go for a bunk. Their reason: No security for the students inside the campus. Gunshots last took place inside the campus way back in 1984 and thus it becomes a reason to protest. We gleefully accepted and walked out of the class, everyone hates to attend classes. SOPU party (the main opposition, obviously the blame was targeted at them) passed on sms saying that they had nothing to do with the incident and that they respect the president of the student’s council. The following day the newspapers say that some of the policemen who investigated the matter have not been responsible enough as they could not locate the shells. Finally a few days before the scene changed totally…. SOPU party held an anti PUSU demonstration at the students centre. And that few of the leaders of PUSU party were arrested, some from my own hostel. Later on I found out that the forensic department had rejected that the holes in the windscreen of the car has been created by a bullet, instead a sharp object. Thus the whole case has turned against the PUSU party. Pata Nahi yeh party wale vote ke liye kiss hadd taka age jaa sakte hai?? And believe me when I say that... This Happens Only In P.U.

I have lots more to share with you... shall be posting soon after a few days.

Note: Since past two to three months the Bird Flu scare in India has really killed half the pleasures of my life (apart from the million birds and hundreds of people). Depriving a Bengali like me of eggs is a big sin and the Dean of Students Welfare is guilty of this crime. I tell you, the Dean shall be cursed.