Sunday, 31 August 2014

89th FC at Labasna- An introduction

In the time honoured tradition of starting a blog the moment one reaches LBSNAA, Mussoorie, I too have started a blog. This is tacky and caters to many cliches. So be it.

I arrived here after passing through four states- Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Let us just say we opted for the scenic route, crossing Ambala, Jagadhri, Poanta Sahib, Dehradun and also towns with exotic names like Sela Qui, Herbertpur etc. Crossed the Yamuna at Poanta Sahib and numerous dry bed tributaries enroute. Passed through Kalesar National Park, which was the most pleasant part of the drive.

I will skip the mundane details of room allotment etc. I have been allotted a hostel that is infamous for being far from the main academic complex and at significant altitudinal difference. I had once suggested, in a manner of jest, that the stairs are my worst enemy. Looks like I got my comeuppance at the hands of stairs. Or the feet of the stairs.

Therefore, it should surprise no one that my first meal at Mussoorie happened to be at the Ganga Dhaba- a simple fare of chow and coffee. Why does it seem to me like I am beginning to relive my KGP times whence the standard midnight snack used to be always a greasy chow, a greasier omelette and a twice boiled chai? Taking the connect with KGP further, the academic blocks are named Karmshila and Gyanshila. They remind one of the Vikramshila complex of KGP. In one of its auditoria then under construction, I recited Sri Sri's "Nenu Saitham" poem in a weird, vain, creepy theatrical performance lost on wet cemented walls, bamboo support pillars, lost in echoes that still stay with me.

Be that as it may, the LBSNAA campus is pretty except for the infernal gradient differences. There is a flurry of renovation work going on under the watchful eyes of the PWD personnel. The campus is being spruced up in preparation for the visit of a high constitutional dignitary.

Therefore one finds the potholes of the road leading to LBSNAA from the Library Point topped up with tar. It is not a road that does not have a pot hole or a patchwork of tar on potholes.

Talking of Library Point, not much seems to have changed on the Mall road in all these eight years since I last visited this place. I was young, lean, with a full crop of hair, full of enthu and fresh out of college. Eight years hence I may have to admit that a lot of the zeal has faded and the idealist of yesteryears is a jaded realist of the present. I remember the excitement on spotting Ruskin Bond at a book store in Landour. It was the first time I had ever seen a writer, a famous, celebrated writer. Alas! I had not read a single book of Bond's (and in a telling damnation, still have not read any of his work) and therefore I watched him from afar autographing copies of his books for fans. Perhaps, one day I too will be a writer and I will beckon the awkward, gawking youngster in, give him a book and encourage him to read. Books should be our good friends, not daunting challenges as it so often happens to me.
Kulri area has changed a lot. There are glitzier shops, more neon and tackier clothed people than in the past. And down below, Dehra Dun shimmered like gold nuggets in a bed of hot, murky water. The city has sprawled over time. What was once a pretty sight of crisp lights from the city, like fireflies amassed in millions at the foot of the Queen of the hills, is now more like an aerial view  of a generic Indian city at night.

The shock of the mismatch between memory and reality morphed in to a shock of the mismatch between online and offline worlds. I met only a few people so far and they were kind enough to remember my name and call it out. I of course drew a total blank. I have never been good with faces and names and their proper matching. Hopefully that drawback will be remedied here. The mismatch between offline and online selves is what I would call Facebook dissonance. One is a decent looking, airbrushed image online, all witty and dripping with sarcasm, gregarious, with inexhaustible time to poke nose in others' business, online. Offline, you find a different person, diffident, warts and all and tongue tied. Not just me, but others too. So, we will have to recalibrate, I am guessing. Like a fellow wimwian had pointed that I look handsome in the display pic. :) I need to increase my glamour in real life too. :) People seem friendly.

The registration process is scheduled for the whole day tomorrow. Form filling, form submitting, duplicates, triplicates, signatures at 100 different places, photographs with and without signature on them, blue ink, ball point pens only, glue, staplers, folders, files are but few of the issues one has to grapple tomorrow. Not to mention the mad dash from place to place and finding out the location of various counters. At least that was the de riguer at my previous "Registration Day" experiences at engineering college, management school and private and public sector jobs. Will this be different? Only time will tell.

The funny thing about the opening and the closing days of these programmes is that one gets to see the campus and every nook of it on both these days. On the registration day you are figuring out what is where and trying not to get lost (like I did in the main building of KGP.) On the closing day though, one visits these places in a bureaucrat's version of treasure hunt, getting NOCs from all and sundry, reminding one that so many places in the campus do exist despite your own obliviousness.

So that is the first day's account. Like all things with beginners, I am sure it is high on the beginner's enthu. The name of the blog by the way is from the pronunciation of LBSNAA.
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