They add that extra colour to your everyday college experience and remain a part of memories that you’ll cherish long after your student life is over. From an extraordinary canteen server to the diligent cyber café uncle, meet some of the popular icons on the city’s college circuit.‘John would order samosas’
Pascoal D’souza aka John at Jai Hind College
Not many Jai Hind College students are aware that the real name of the popular canteen waiter, whom they call ‘John’, is actually Pascoal D’souza. "He is a really cool guy who is famous for narrating anecdotes about John Abraham, who was also a student here. When I joined college, I found it very intriguing to know that his name was John too," says Katyani Gupta, FYBA student at the college.
Ask Pascoal about it and he smiles, "Students fondly call me John and I don’t mind it". He even shows visitors the table in the canteen where the actor used to sit for long hours. "When John was a student many years ago, he would sit right here and order his favourite samosas. Even Shaan was a student here and was popular because of his singing. And yes, I remember Aishwarya Rai when she studied here," reminisces 47-year-old Pascoal, who has been working at the college for more than 25 years.
Take a bite of his ‘Malhar sandwich’
Bread winner Vinod Jathav outside St Xavier’s College
The half-hour recess time from 10.30 to 11 am is a busy time for Vinod and his uncle Prakash, who run a small sandwich counter in a side-lane adjoining the college. “I started selling sandwiches around 15 years ago and now my nephew handles everything. He is quite famous among students,” says Prakash.
Tasty and pocket-friendly, the sandwiches (starting price is Rs 12) and the seller have acquired a sort of iconic status among collegians, who swear by his spinach-corn and cheese tomato varieties. “We love his preparation so much that we are also coming up with a special ‘Malhar sandwich’ that will be added to his menu and served during the festival,” says Shannon Tellis, a TYBA student at the institution.
Meet this local Earl of Sandwich
Raju dishes out fresh rolls opposite KC and HR College
The enormous crowd that gathers around this roadside stall opposite KC and HR Colleges speaks for its immense popularity. And the busy person who runs it will tell you that this is business as usual, even as the students strike up a friendly conversation with him. “Students like the variety available here and we’re happy to serve,” says Raju, busy passing around chilly cheese sandwiches and pasta cheese rolls to boisterous collegians. “He is very popular and the food we get here is different from our regular canteen fare,” says Meeta Jain, FYB.Com student, while biting into a ‘double aloo slice’.
‘Even Amitabh Bachchan ate here’
Kanchan Roy dishes out dosas for Mithibai, NM and UPG collegians
The staggering variety of traditional and fusion dosas dished out by Kanchan Roy, popularly known as the ‘dosa guy’ at Balaji Food could put any south Indian eatery to shame. Add to it the warmth and friendliness of Kanchan, who is a familiar face for students of three colleges at Vile Parle— Mithibai, NM and UPG; and you have a perfect hangout spot. One can even find regulars chatting with Roy, who is more than happy to entertain the young crowd. “Our stall has been here for 25 years and students rush to get their favourite dosas, which they don’t find anywhere else. Once, even Amitabh Bachchan stopped to eat here,” claims Roy.
Your personal project manager
Himmat Bhai owns a cyber café near Wilson College
For BMM students at Wilson College, Chowpatty, Himmat Bhai is probably no less than an angel. This owner of Sai Cyber Café, located in a lane near the college, is popular for opening his shop at 5 in the morning on assignment submission days. The good Samaritan does it so that students who are running late can take printouts for their projects and submit them in the nick of time.
Not only that, many college-goers, especially hostellers, email him their assignments the night before, and Himmat readies them by binding copies of the printed material the next morning. Himmat has been running his small business for over eight years.“I feel good when I help these students because I don’t want them to lose out on marks. A lot of the alumni come to meet me and it gives me satisfaction to know how well they’re doing now,” says the 42-year-old.
—With inputs from Pooja Maheshwary.