It feels really good to be in Pune, especially when I spent two awesome years of my life here in this city. The best part of the student life is that it attaches you big time to the city. You leave a part of yours when you move out, Pune is same to me. Irrespective of 1001 complaints you will receive about it whether the traffic which never seems to be in order, or the potholes which seem to outnumber the number of roads in the city or the rains which show a deep influence from Jim Carrey’s Mast yelling all the time ‘Somebody Stop Me!!!’ or now the latest politician on the block Mr. Raj Thackrey and his lingual biases. Despite all this my love for this city is something which is constant, you can attribute it to weather, the crowd anything but for sake of my comfort I would say I have spent two best years of my life right here. A few days ago I was actually contemplating where to have dinner, was not really sure where I wanted to have my dinner and what I wanted to eat. When me & Sumeet passed what used to be our college building one and a half years ago. I saw the NCC canteen was still open and I immediately pulled over.
As I climbed down the stairs of the canteen, a feeling of Nostalgia hit me. Nothing had changed there. The seats were the same, the students were scattered and the conversations regarding tests, subjects, movies were going amidst thick layers of cigarette smoke (yes I know the sticks are banned, but you can’t stop the kids. Not in their college canteen, absolutely not. More coming on the ban in my next post) It just seemed that we have moved further away. A realization that the places don’t change we are the ones who change; I saw this was the place where I used to have my daily lunch for two years. I actually relished the canteen food after the long lectures and hardships of deadlines and assignments, today I would not think of visiting a place like this. Yes, I am quite a snob when it comes to places to eat and watching movies I do not like any place which lacks proper ambience. But the college canteen despite nowhere close to the places I prefer to eat in was something made me feel home. The surprises came in the form of people, Ganesh Anna the manager & cashier of the place, Chandu and other waiters and chefs recognizing us immediately. Coming up to us talking being concerned how we are doing. We ordered our food and as soon as we did and the waiter narrated the order to the Chef. The manager shouted back at the chef “Ache se banana, Bhai ka khana hai” (prepare the food well, it is for our brother). A feeling swept in that how respect worthy & important we were for this guy. How we sat in the place like we owned it, no formalities, nothing doing absolutely like a king. No 5 star in this world could match that, having eaten in best of the places but the kind of treatment was irreplaceable.
Now I fully understand when DJ (Amir Khan) says in Rang De Basanti “Mujhe University main hi rehna hai. University main apni ek aukaat hai. Log kehte hai DJ main badi baat hai kuch karega DJ. Universtiy ke gate ke is paar hum life ko nachate hai aur gate ke us par life humko nachati hai” (I want to remain in the university only. Inside the University I have a standing, people say DJ has something special about him, they know me who I am. They say I will achieve one day. On the insides of the gates we make the life dance on our tunes on the other side of the gate life makes us dance on her tunes).
I have had parties which have amounted more than my entire expenses at the NNC canteen for months. But still those restaurant people won’t even know what my name is. But is NCC canteen main, ithe to apni kuch aukaat hai. Log Jaante hai mainnu yahan par. (in this NCC canteen I have my own standings people know me here). NCC rocks!!!