Apr 24, 2013

U is for University Days !

I spent five years in Jawaharlal Lal Nehru University or JNU as it is called, doing my graduation and post-graduation in a foreign language. JNU enriched my love for languages and linguistics and I am one of those rare breeds who actually enjoyed my academic years! They were five wonderful years – The best years of my life.

JNU is a green and peaceful heaven amongst the chaos of Delhi. It’s a sprawling campus, only one fourth of it is given to buildings, the rest is all rocks and forest. We once decided to Trek inside JNU and we walked the whole day from morning till night but still couldn't cover the entire forest.

I still remember the occasional nilgai and the deer we would see from our class room windows and the peacocks that invariably came out during the monsoons and danced for our benefit. On sunny winter mornings we would persuade our teachers to take our class out in the lawn and we would study the intricacies of the language and soak up the winter sun at the same time.

Architecturally, JNU is very beautifully built. The aesthetic red -brick academic buildings and the hostels that randomly dot the campus add a charm to the greenery around.
The JNU library has the best collection of books I have seen till date and off course is equally well known because of the ghost that lives there!

But it’s not only beautiful buildings that give a place its character. What I loved the most about JNU was whole intellectual and cultural ambiance of the place. It was JNU that introduced me to the“ Jhola culture” and I took to it like a fish takes to water. The ethnic khadi kurtas over jeans, the juttis or kolhapuri chappals, the embroidered cloth bags from janpath– these form a trademark of those five years I have spent there and frankly my dress sense still has a lot of JNU in it ! It was at JNU that I first learnt the true meaning of “adda – baazi”. The socio-political debates and discussions that took place in its various cafes or on the lawns that could stretch for hours and hours. I enjoyed every bit of them! I loved the street plays you could simply sit on the grass to watch, and I loved the posters that are an ever present part of JNU walls – so much so that it is said that it is the posters that keep the walls up! JNU is like a huge watering hole for all intellectuals and wanna be intellectuals who congregate there to discuss anything from the starving millions in Africa to the role of Marxism in West Bengal.

Eating at any college cafeteria tends to be fun but imagine eating perched on rocks outside the café while looking out on a sprawling maze of green with the huge Parathasarthy rocks looming ahead. Imagine having Chai – Pakoras sitting on the steps of the school of languages as you watch the rain fall gently over the beautiful campus.
You will find eating joints serving everything from thupkas to chilli chicken to paranthas in JNU – and all of it will be finger licking good! And there is no JNU-ite worth his salt who hasn't had Francis’s mango shake and proclaimed it to be the best in the world!

JNU also meant cut throat competition, frantic cramming before exams, desperate last minute hunt for notes for the optional political science classes we never bothered to attend. It meant Language labs, viva and interpretation classes that admittedly made us into the language experts we are today but something we hated passionately then. 
JNU meant going to the ganga dhabha for a simple cup of chai and then getting entangled in a debate and spending the whole evening discussing politics. JNU meant day scholars stealing into hostels and spending the night there, of hitching rides because we could never be bothered to wait for the bus. 

JNU was those carefree sunlit days of fun and laughter and of friendships forged for life !

Du-ites might spent a life time praising their colleges to high heaven but I tell you, there is nothing like JNU !

41 comments:

  1. We all have our college memories:) The best times!

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  2. Ah the carefree days. Yup, we all are bound by our alma mater....connected to this post big time. :)

    Peacocks? Really? We had only pigeons and crows :P

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    1. Yeah peacocks and fox and nilghai thrown in for variety!

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  3. Was not aware of the inside story of JNU ... enjoyed the sneak peek into your Univ days...
    Fab food, wild life, lectures in the sun... sounds like a super cool place!

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  4. I never really enjoyed my college days...fro reason best not mentioned (they were a scar). But the fact still remains that I had loasssssss of fun too. Also my hostel life was spent in the company of peacocks mostly from June till August at least and then the occasional owl who would reside by the branch shading the balcony of my hostel room.

    Thanks for the nostalgia!

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    1. I am sorry u did not enjoy your university days .. for me they were the best days of my life !

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  5. Yep college days were sure fun

    PhenoMenon

    http://capturedalive.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/underneath-the-balmy-sky/

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  6. Wow !!
    I remembered my college days and also RDB movie :)
    I visualised wat eva u told !
    hostel life memories always make me nostalgic. I spent engg days in hostel and day scholars used to hide and relish food in our rooms :) Ours was a sprawled campus full of green with veg and paddy fields around. We ocassionally used to see snakes too !. It was called Green fields area. Your college sure seems majestic
    Thanks for memory revival

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    1. paddy fields wow !! I was a day scholar and I have lost count of the number of times I have stolen into hostels !

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  7. Oh, I almost forgot about Parthasarathy rock! :D
    Lot of Bongs in JNU propagated the jhola culture! :)

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    1. parathasarathy rocks were fun ! Not only bongs but others too :P

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  8. College days were really fun for me and I could relate to this post. You really detailed well the reasons why JNU means so much to you.

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  9. That was such a visual post, very vividly described, dripping with love you have for the place! You are very lucky Ruchira, to have experienced all that.. I did'nt go to a 'real school' past 12th grade:)

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  10. College days are indeed the best. I never really could enjoy mine as I was attending CA classes! But it was fun to read this post. Took me back to my college building, food, friends, cramming..

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    1. so they are Naina ! I am sorry you had to work so hard during yours ! CA is tough !

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  11. Yep I had a blast during my Uni days. Those were good times. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  12. U hv bought that place alive for us :)

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  13. Super cool place, just like my college, where we used to have so much fun. I'm feeling all nostalgic now :)

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    1. Yeah I all got all nostalgic writing this post !

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  14. I've never heard any of the JNU Alumni have any complaints about it! Seriously, it is one of the finest educational institutions in the country! When I hear someone studied there, they go up a few notches in my esteem. Not that I needed that with you, Ruchira!

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    1. Why Corinne that is such a lovely thing to say !

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  15. I don't intend to start an argument but I loved my days at North campus of DU so much. They were similar to yours at JNU except we had different eating joints which we proclaimed were "world-best". :)

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    1. DU VS JNU .. The argument continues :P

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  16. I have never been there. Looks like one of the places to visit in Delhi.

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  17. Have never seen the JNU campus. My college was not as beautiful as yours but, the memories and the friends I made are almost the same.

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    1. In the end its the friends that matter !

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  18. You made me nostalgic Ruchira. It is in my professional college that I spent the best years of my life. Waise, JNU sounds too beautiful for words,so ek trip toh banta hai Delhi ka ..

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  19. One of the biggest regrets of my life is the choice of my college.

    To enjoy such brainy debates, oh I envy you Ruchira. You are very lucky. Makes me want to resign to my job, pack my bags and study there. *wistful sigh*

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    1. Not a bad idea ! Do a PHD from there !

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  20. Reminded me of my college days :)

    Nostalgic post!

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  21. I have some great memories of my graduation and post-graduation in DU. I went to JNU for a week when I started my PhD there but then I dropped off to do something else. I liked the atmosphere of JNU. The seniors were very helpful.

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  22. Beautiful Ruchira :) I have never been to JNU but your post made me feel I was there.

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