Saturday, July 15, 2006

A 'uni'que experience

My friend Max - also my senior from uni - is leaving Singapore.

So over dinner on Thursday night, he expressed a desire to visit our uni before he left Singapore. We decided it was a fabulous idea to go to uni and do addabazi at the usual haunts.

So he sent out an email to a bunch of people asking them if they were interested. Soon a roll call was started over email, as people kept adding their names on the list. (These kinda emails make you pity the people who don't use gmail.) It was decided that we would meet at 10 am at the train station and then take the bus to uni. This bus has a very scenic route and I would consider the bus ride as an integral part of the uni-viewing experience.

So I am waiting at the train station at 10 am, and there's no sign of the dhakkans. I wait patiently till 10:15 am and then send an sms to Max to ask his whereabouts. He calls back immediately.

"We're taking a cab to the train station. We'll get there soon."

"Max, tell me the truth. You just woke up, didn't you? You're not really in a cab, are you?"

"Oh it's my flatmate who was taking so long... we're going to take a cab now..."

"Going to??? Max, it's 10:15!"

"Sayesha, this is supposed to be a trip down memory lane. So the timings will also be like that."

"Okay, get your asses here asap."

A loooong wait later, they finally turned up - Max, American Pi, and two others. So it was only five of us. The rest bailed out. Too early for them I suppose. Office-goers are usually reluctant to wake up early on saturdays.

So as usual, I found myself on a trip with an all-guys company. Except that this trip was not to Cambodia, Perhentian or Goa, but it was just down memory lane.

We went to Canteen A first, the main adda of the IG, or the Indian Gang, as we called ourselves in uni. In the old days, there used to be a western food stall which served good breakfast. Their omelettes were pretty popular, and the stall lady would yell at her cook every few seconds, "Ikha omh-leh!" She became known as the 'ikha omh-leh' lady. Unfortunately, her stall has been replaced with a McDonald's so poor Max could not eat his last 'ikha omh-leh' for breakfast.

We decided to get a drink and sit at the IG table. The IG table is a big table in the canteen which has been kinda reserved for the noisy Indians from India, for years now. No one dares to sit at that table - not the Chinese, not the Malays, not the local Indians, nor anyone else. And this holds true to this day. It's like an unwritten policy.

I had a glass of cold milo - the best and the cheapest (40 cents) I have ever had in Singapore - and the guys also got some drinks. We spent some time doing addabazi at the IG table and then went to check out the library.

The library is just above the canteen, and during exams, we would study for half an hour in the library and then come down to the canteen to take a ten-min break, and would only end up going back an hour or more later. It was earlier known as Library 1 but is now named after a guy. As we sat and wondered about how much money the guy must have donated to get the library named after him, Max's flatmate made a profound statement.

"There are two ways to get something named after you. Either you donate shitloads of money, or you become so famous that they pay you shitloads of money to use your name."


"I think I'll just use the second approach. Financially, more viable." I said.

Max's flatmate joked, "Max, since you're leaving, you may name a piece of furniture in our house after you. The Max chair, or the Max table or something?"

Max retorted, "Yeah, sure! And oh, can I name the shitpot after you??"

His flatmate said, "Yeah, but you have to pay me royalty for using my name."

"Yeah, the shit I deposit will be your royalty!" Max said.

I think we forgot we were in a library, we were laughing so hard. Luckily, we were not kicked out of the library. IG members were famous for getting kicked out of places - especially from hostels.

From the library we started walking towards the other end of the main uni building, also known as the south spine.















We stopped by the steps near the admin building and remembered the days when we would have the annual IG photoshoot at the steps. We sat there for a while and chatted about the old days, before moving on.
















The Student Affairs Office - I'd laughed for months at the name!
















Coffee club express, where we used to sit and have cheesecake slices. Yummy!
















The auditorium where my convocation was held





















The tutorial rooms where we used to study at night for exams
















My green and beautiful uni! Yeay!


We passed by the computer room, and remembered the hilarious days of IRC and how one of our seniors had made a complete ass of another by posing as a hot chick and talking to him on IRC for weeks! The guy actually turned up at the airport, complete with flowers, to "receive the babe", but was greeted by the prankster instead! The story had been passed down to generations of the IG.

Then we went to the MLT - the Main Lecture Theatre - which has also been named after someone now. This lecture theatre can house a thousand students, which was how big the first year engineering class used to be. One of the guys pretended to be a lecturer and even gave a mock lecture, which he ended with a "Pretty girls may stay back."

We sat for many of our exams in the MLT, so all the funny exam stories came out. Apparently, one of our seniors entered the MLT before an exam and remarked, "Yaar, bahut thand hai yahan..." ("It's too cold here.") The prof who taught the subject happened to be an Indian, and he retorted in Hindi, "Beta, exam paper kholo, bahut garmi lagegi." ("Son, open the exam paper, you'll start feeling very hot.") :D


Then there was another incident when a prof was giving exam tips when he noticed my senior sleeping in the first row. He asked the guy next to him to wake the sleeping guy. The sleeping guy was woken up and made to listen to the tips, after which the prof said, "Okay, you can go back to sleep now." And he did!!! :O















The canteen B tables, where I would do last minute revisions before exams

We next went to Yunnan Garden, where much of the ragging used to take place. More here on how I was ragged. We took pictures in front of the fountain near the Chinese Heritage Centre.















We walked by Nanyang Lake, the lake with dirty brown water, where we'd been dunked by the seniors in our first year. The memories were not very pleasant. :|

We had lunch at Canteen 2, and went to the mini co-op there. The aunty at the counter is the same even now after so many years!

Then we went to the SRC - the Sports and the Recreation Centre - near the running track. This is where the seniors would line us up and grill us. This is where I had been asked to play antakshari against myself for an hour. Sheesh. :|

We checked out the swimming pool and the indoor basketball courts (we actually had some of our exams in the basketball courts!) Memories came rushing back.

















The dirty pool outside Hall 6, where many IG members were thrown in on their birthdays















One of the hostels




















A closer look at a hostel block















View from where we waited to board the bus

After taking tons of photos and roaming around campus for 4-5 hours, we took the bus back and went our separate ways. Just like we're about to do in life.


Here's to my friend Max. I hereby forgive you unconditionally for ragging me. Have a great life, buddy! :)


And I'm more than sure we'll meet again.




50 comments:

freebird said...

GOLD!!!!

freebird said...

After a long long gap, Freebird's back with a gold!!! he hee..Lemme go read d post now :D

Anonymous said...

bronze...

Anonymous said...

oh srry silver!

Anonymous said...

can i have both of dem??

Rebellion said...

Ideally I take bronze Sash :D

Off I go to read the post :P

Take care,
Aarti

Dev said...

I read the post first! :)

Too good Sayesha bhai! :)

Iday said...

Top 10 :D
Well - looking back at life is one of the most interesting things to do. And looking back at college life is simply the best. We'll then see how many different faces all of us have!!!

Anonymous said...

an alumni of NTU as well.. reading ur post brought bac fond memories! thanks. great pictures too :)

American Pi said...

I love it when all of us take Max's trip.

"Edit" Boy's comments, chocolate aphrodisiac, and the guy taking the foto (his last) were highlights. Not to mention my condition. Surprising how in all fotos - I managed to smile. I was feeling horribly tired and sick!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

I read the post tenth! yeehaa!
sweet post sayesha. made me all senti. :(
i just did the similar trip down the memory lane with an old friend who's visiting. with videocam in tow, wanting to take videos of the bus and everything.
sheesh! :\

Anonymous said...

you put in everything so beautifully.. superb!

chaliye bye :)

satish

Harshi said...

Hey Sash, Wow....am so glad you all made this trip happen. Yeah....who knows about the future....life really scatters everyone...it was good you did this! :)

The Girl Who Sold The World said...

Me and my friends did the same thing on the last day of school. It's fun to look back at the wonderful memories. :) And nice pics! :D
By the way, those who don't use gmail haven't seen the bestestest email service ever!!! :D

Sayesha said...

#Freebird,
Congrats! :P

#Anon,
Pray identify yourself first. Anonymous people are not eligible for any medals :D

#Aarti,
You get silver, bacha :)

#Dev,
:)

#Iday,
Couldn't agree more... what amazing days :)

#Anon,
Thanks! Do I know you though? :)

#AP,
Hahahaha! Bechara... ragging ho gayi uski... we really should have thrown him into the hall 6 ka pool! :D
ps: Tip for future - never get drunk the night before if you have a memory trip planned for the next day okie? I seriously got worried about you man. You feeling better now?

#Ipanema Gal,
Yeah, the best is to see your own uni thru someone else's eyes. When my parents were here, I found my uni so much more beautiful because they found it soooooo beautiful! :D

#Satish,
Thanks dear! :)

#Harshi,
Hi babe! Long time no see! :)
Thanks for coming back! :)

#World Gal,
Thanks :) And totally agree abt the gmail bit! :P

Angelsera said...

err Sayesha, u do knwo the western stall is still there in canteen a...n its the same people :)
they ve taken the corner on the other side..whr the carrot cake shp used to b

Angelsera said...

neways...ya I sometimes walk ard campus alone, or if someone from my batch visits, then we do the same thing :)
it feels nice and nostalgic to talk abt the "good old days" I cant seem to forget :)

off late a few more of my batch mates have been coming to NTU either for project or work..so I have been having a great time recounting experiences :D

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Hmmm... :)

Duhita said...

Oh no Sash, getting us all senti with this post:( I wonder if I'll ever get to do a tour of my uni ever again with my mates... hmmm...but yeah everytime I do say goodbye to a friend, its so filmy I know, but I believe kabhi alvida na kehena and should wou have a will, you and your mates will meet again!:)

shub said...

arrrey! Heights ke saamne bhi aayi thi kya? Ek msg kiya hota! Mein ghar pe akeli bathi BORE ho rahi thi!

Sayesha said...

#Angelsera,
What?! OMG don't tell Max, he'll be heart-broken! On second thoughts we were so late, they must have stopped serving ikha omh-leh anyway! :P

#Sudipta,
:)

#Duhita,
Hmm... I have lost too many of my friends to MBA schools in the US, so this was just another one going... I didn't get that senti also because I know for sure I'm gonna meet him again! :)

#Shub,
Haan?? Damn! Lekin mere saath puri junta party thi yaar! :D

oxymoron said...

oh sayesha...
u've brought back so many memories, just by putting up the fotos!

Rekha said...

is max headed for his MBA too? Isn't max the only person parting ways?

Abhi said...

The post had bigs dollops of nostalgia drippin off it sayesha . Wasnt just max's trip , was a trip for me too . Hope you are good . I miss the times I was online so much . Good to see things havent changed for you.:)

-Abhi

Janefield said...

love the greenery :)
and yes, nostalgia is a trip everyone enjoys taking every once in a while!

Rebellion said...

WOW Sash??!!

I really take silver?! Yeayyyyyyyy \:D/

Sorry, too late.. Had to leave reading ur post half way yesterday! Today evening too read the post but couldn't comment!!

A very sweet post and lovely pics :)
But your post had got me all nostalgic in the evening :|
Guess am missing my old days :(

Anyways, dam sweet post :)

Take care dear,
Aarti

Harshi said...

It's my pleasure Sash. I miss coming here more often. Oh and I did wanna say your univ looks beautiful! :-) I feel like becoming a student again :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It really brought back many many memories for me too. And u took piccies of Hall 8! :)

And yes, the IG table is FAMOUS!

RR

SM said...

Very immotional blog sayesh,but in a different way.Nice reading it.

Sayesha said...

#Oxymoron,
Hey you should visit uni yaar... so many things have changed and yet so many things are still the same! :)

#Rekha,
Yeah, he's headed for an MBA too. And we're all headed in different directions in terms of career and personal life. But some day we will all be together again :)

#Abhi,
I miss you and the old days too yaar... :(

Kahan rehte ho aajkal? Still watching sunsets with your watchman? :D

#Chosen One,
Yeah, it's amazingly green! :)

#Aarti,
Thanks :)

#Harshi,
Hehehe... yeah I guess that's one of the reasons I chose the same uni for my Master's. :P

#RR,
Hahaha! You'd heard of the IG table too?? Hahaha! :D

#Sharda,
Thanks :)

Angelsera said...

yes oxymoron u shd visit uni :)
I can give u a tour of the new places :D

Duhita said...

Optimism, very good!:) MBA schools in the US, very bad! On the bright side, all your friends are sure guaranteed success, so that's a good feeling I'm sure. Why does everyone want to go to the US? hmmm......

oxymoron said...

hmmm... need to visit uni! has been a loooooong time since i stepped foot thr! some things will never change in the uni! the IG table i guess!
will make time some day!

#angel-//"tour"?
naaaaa, u ain't getting my identity that easy :P!

nmk said...

Hey Sayesha:

The Western stall in Can A has not been completely removed. They have relocated to the corner of the Canteen (If you are facing the line of stalls that include The veggie stall, Sikandar's stall; this is the one on the extreme left).

The omlette is still quite good. Though the stall does not have the grandeur that it once did (also I think they lost a lot of business to Macs).

Raj said...

Alrite, I have to comment on the last 3 posts so I'm gonna do it all here:

I think I drink enuf water. Sometime I drink more lemon tea than water but still.

Abt Katrina Kaif, I can totally understand what it must have been like bcos I have a similar problem :)

And finally abt this post, the UNI campus looks great. Must have been nice to study in a place like that.

justme said...

amazing..!!

Princesse said...

Wow you guys had a veggie stall and a sikandar stall??? !!! Man... that's AMAZING.

Back in my days at uni, (being a vegetarian)I would only get a plain cheese sandwich.

And where I work now, all I can get for lunch each day is a choice between pizza with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes or a pasta (depending on the day of the week) or a sandwich (the sandwich bar is closed during the summers so nowadays, I'm lucky if after scrounging around, I find something to eat at all!)

sirisha-my-thoughts said...

Hi...!!
I've been browsing around and looks like I've drifted away. Suddenly landed on your blog. Found this post extremely good. Looks like you know that already!!
Though I didnt study @ the same place, its easy to identify, its the same old gang, same old "addas", just that the location is different. Will drop by more frequently :)

--Sirisha

Kais said...

Nice pictures of NTU..brings back memories. I gotta make the pilgrimage over to NTU one of these days. I remember I almost didn't come to Singapore because I wanted NUS (it being the
"national" university and all) but got NTU. "Nanyang" university sounded suspiciously like a front for the south-east-asian mafioso. I'm glad I took up the offer anyways in the end!

cheers
Kais

Anonymous said...

Ah! Kuchch meethee yadon ko kured ke ekdum taazaa kiya aapne.....

Check out where a spelling mistake on your blog address takes ...
http://sayesha.blogpsot.com/

Sudeep said...

sabse pehle toh gmail is awesome..

nice pics alongwith nice memories..
bahut baar ragging hui teri toh.. :D

Siddhu said...

Will have to do the same some day! :D

Btw you've left orkut, haven't u?

Rekha said...

so.. which school is Max headed to? He doesn't seem to be downing pegs at sayeshas!?

Sayesha said...

#Angelsera,
Nice try! Tell me who he is okay? :D

#Duhita,
Yeah man... everyone seems to be headed for the US. :)

#Oxymoron,
Hahaha! You caught her, yeah? :D

#NMK,
Yeah, Angelsera told me that ikha omh-leh is still there! :)

#Raj,
Lemon tea mein bahut sugar hoga... kam karo! :O

Hahaha! Just read your post! :P

Yeah, my uni is the most beautiful uni in the world.... hehehehe :P

#Justme,
:)

#Princesse,
Oh no, poor thing you... It's so annoying not being able to find food around! :|

#Sirisha,
Welcome to Sayeshaz and thanks for commenting :)

#Kais,
Hahahaha! This is unbelievable! I echoed your EXACT thoughts! But I'm so glad I went to NTU instead. (All right, NUS-NTU war comin' right up!) :P

#Anon,
Oh no! I won't open that link in office... pata nahin kya hai... sheesh... will look at it when I am at home :P

#Sudeep,
Haan yaar... bahut ragging hui... lekin aag mein tapkar hi toh Mona Sona banti hai muhahahhahaha! :D

#Sid,
I'm still at Orkut, but operating my primary account only. The one with my real name! ;)

#Rekha,
Aha! Someone seems to be very interested in where Max's going to? ;) I'll tell him! ;)

And oh, he's not into blogs so he doesn't frequent Sayeshaz. :)

Sudeep said...

ha ha.. gud one

Sayesha said...

#Sudeep,
:D

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