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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Monsoon on campus: A soggy walk down memory lane

A downpour can be ice-breaker or nightmare. Students share adventures, hacks and hilarity.

education Updated: Jul 03, 2019 20:02 IST
Samriddhi Nandi
Samriddhi Nandi
Hindustan Times
(HT File)
         

For students, the rains call to mind some very specific memories: smudged ink in notebooks, chai at the college canteen, adventures on your first solo commutes and being able to discover the beauty of the season with friends.

It recalls some tough moments too. Many students at school or university are either new to the city, having travelled there to study, or locals making daily journeys outside their comfort zones. And since skipping classes is not an option in the monsoon, especially during examinations, it’s common to see students trudging through knee deep water and getting drenched en route to the campus. In large cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru, it’s a season of challenges, hacks and hilarity, students say.

CLOUD CONTROL

For Shweta Kushe, a student of economics who graduated from SIES College, Mumbai, last year, monsoon meant making one’s way through waist-deep water in front of the Sion campus. Her last year at college is the most memorable, thanks to a peculiar rain forecasting method.

The area around Sion station is also prone to extreme flooding and Kushe says that an old lady and her buffalo were a standard fixture in front of Café Vrindavan across from the station. “One day, someone saw the buffalo floating through the flood,” she says. “From then on, it became our unofficial rain gauge.” The kids joked that if the water levels were too high for the animal to stand, it was likely that the floods were too intense for classes to be held. “If the buffalo wasn’t floating, college was on.”

Having grown up in The United Arab Emirates, Akash Ravindran, a 2017 media studies graduate at Symbiosis International, Pune, had little interaction with the monsoon. “I was always told not to get wet in the rain,” says the public relations professional. “One day I was alone in the hostel when it rained. Without any inhibitions, I threw away my umbrella and did the knee slide across the ground like Shah Rukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. I lived out my dream!”

SHOWER POWER

For some, the monsoon can be a nightmare. Aashna Suresh, a student of media and communication at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), had to travel alone from Mumbai to the campus at Udupi, Karnataka, for her college interview in May last year. She says it was the scariest adventure of her life.

“I took a flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru and had a connecting flight to Mangalore at midnight,” she recalls. “But all flights from Bengaluru were cancelled that night because of a rainstorm. I ended up taking a 12-hour road trip in a car in the middle of the night with a sleepy driver and three strangers through the slippery roads of the Western Ghats. I somehow made it to my interview.”

Chirantana Borthakur, who graduated from Christ University, Bengaluru, in 2017, says the unpredictable rains of the region added unexpectedly to her street play. After elaborate preparations by the college’s street play group Srishti, the costumes were dampened and the face paint on the performers got smudged in the rain. “Playing holi inside the campus is not allowed and we were nearly suspended because of our appearances,” remembers Borthakur. “But thankfully our juniors loved our performance.”

For Arjun R Nath, despite the Kerala floods of 2018, the year brings sunny memories. Nath missed his admissions at the Manipal Institute of Communication (MIC), MAHE. “During admissions last year, I had to go back home to Angamaly in Ernakulam to get some missing paperwork when the floods intensified. I couldn’t come back to Manipal for my interview and had to take a gap year.” Disheartened at first, in the following year he assisted with the production of two film projects and applied for an admission again this year and succeeded.

FLOODED WITH FRIENDS

Rukmini Chatterjee, another student of media and communication at MIC, says the rain on campus were the perfect ice-breaker. “The first day at college was very awkward until it started to rain,” she recalls. “Then, whoever had an umbrella huddled together and formed a make-shift tent and the entire class fit inside it and that was our first interaction with each other.”

Ishita Banerjee, who now works in the finance sector, graduated with an MBA degree in 2014 from the International Management Institute in Kolkata. During her time there, she found her way around the campus during the rain in an unusual way. “The grocery delivery man would bring his cycle-powered cart and we would just hop on and ride the waves to get to classes, she says. Banerjee adds that the institute also has connected boys and girls hostels, and common areas, “Our weekend ritual consisted of everyone gathering in the lounge area and watching a movie with pizzas on the side. This was the beginning of lifelong friendships.”

First Published: Jul 03, 2019 20:02 IST

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