Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How I Lived, Feasted, and Loved Life in IIT Delhi

Fun 'n' Frolic in IIT DelhiPVR movies, Rajinder chickens and Barista babes – memoirs in the city's most prestigious engineering institute.

[By Atish Dipankar (second from left in the front row); picture by Suhas Gupta.]

[The author studied Computer Science in IIT Delhi from 2001 to 2006. Owner of the blog-site Dust in the Wind, he lives in Bangalore.]

I was Dipu and Pinku, Laddu, Chu were my movie pals in IIT Delhi. We always ran to grab the last row of the front-stall as soon as the doors would open. In Chankaya theatre we could watch a movie for 95 bucks (the auto took 20 from the hostel gate and we often came back walking!).

The popular hangout places around IIT Delhi shared a common theme: good restaurants (not necessarily expensive), movie theatres, and lots of girls. Basant Lok's Priya Cinema, PVR Saket and the SDA Market, opposite the Main Gate, topped the list. Linked by a common thread they were distinct in their own ways.

PVR Anupam at Saket was Delhi's first multiplex. We frequented it not to watch a movie but to loiter around, to ogle at the classy crowd, and to check out second hand books. We also never missed out on the tasty & cheap non-vegetarian food in the numerous 'open-air' shacks there.

Priya cinema, on the other hand, was more approachable and affordable. The experience of watching a film there (on cheap) consisted of sitting in the front stall where we had to twist our head from left to right to take in the giant screen in its entirety. But more important was the time we spent before and after the movie.

Ah, how could we forget leering at the hot females, doing window shopping, and grabbing a bite at McDonald's or Nirula's (where the Subz Burger was a hands down favourite). The movie in fact was not a necessity at all. I could recall trips to Priya when we didn't have any plans to watch a movie and the primary motivation was to soothe one's eyes with a heavy dose of pretty young things. It was only in the pre-final and final years that the McDonalds and the Zaikas were replaced, initially by Pizza Hut, and then by Punjabi By Nature and TGIF.

In IIT, there was just too much to like and savour: haggling with auto wallas as half a dozen of us tried to get into a single thuk-thuk; and supping at Sassi (Aaloo ka Parathas, Bread Omelettes, Maggi noodles and Chai constituted breakfast, lunch and dinner for many of us). Then there was Shefali Sweets (Badam Milk, Masala Dosa…) and Rainbows (American Chop suey, Hot Chocolate Fudge..) at the SDA Market. Of course the hip Barista café there was only a place to sit, check out the babes and order nothing. But by third year we had grown up enough to start requesting Cappuccino and Dark Temptation from the uniformed stewards. And who could forget the late night starvation trips to AIIMS, and the occasional ones to Ber Sarai or Jia Sarai – all for the sake of parathas!

But the place which sparkle the most in my memory is Rajinder Da Dhaba (RDD). Adjacent to Kamal Cinema Complex in Safdarjung Enclave, it was a necessary gourmet pilgrimage, especially after two of my close friends got their bikes. Mostly we used to bring the food to our hostel room and dig our fingers at the Butter Chicken, Shahi Paneer, Dal Makhani, Rumali Roti and Vegetable Pulao. But before attacking the food, we would select the play-list in our computers and yes, we would close the door. No interruptions permitted.

All these hangouts formed an important chunk of my existence in IIT. Okay, they were conventional – merely restaurants, movie halls and markets. All right, we didn't go to discos and pubs. True, the malls at Gurgaon and Noida were too far. Let's confess, Connaught Place was only occasionally visited. But what mattered was the fun, the treats, and the many 'chal yaar Priya ho ke aate hain' rides that we had.

You see we were just a bunch of 'normal' engineering students who only wanted to have a good time. Albeit in my case it exceeded the time spent in labs and lectures. But there are no regrets. Those were wonderful moments and I was lucky to have lived them.

14 comments:

anonymous coward said...

as atish's wing mate and now flat mate, i can attest that this dude is a total movie buff, having watched unwatchable stuff like rudraksh in halls!!

a wonderful post which reminds me of a time gone by. although the city may have changed, life still remains quite the same. priya has been replaced by forum, rex for movies, corner house and barista, pizza hut and dominoes ...

sunny said...

Wonderful moments indeed. Every trip to Priya, Chanakya had been fun, from 'bandi taadna' to mcD's burgers and soft-serves. Every girl was discussed, for hours we used to fight over who's going to get which one, though none of us ever dared to even get an introduction:D We never really cared about the world, laughing at the silliest jokes, making fun of each other, and hanging around aimlessly. Thanks for refreshing the memories!!

Poorti Singh said...

I am disgusted by the way this writer has referred to women. If this is what IIT culture is all about, then we are better off without it.

Neha Bhagat said...

Looking at the standards of conduct and thought process of IIT- supposedly the country's premier institute, I think these students should also take classes in morality! Abominable references to women!

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

These are life snippets in an all-boys' boarding-house...fascination with everything-woman is part of any hostel life...just as fascination with everything-man must be a norm in any all-girls' hostel.

Anonymous said...

What are these women on about? As a gay man, one gets to see and hear the best of it all - I can safely declare women make sex-objects of men far more and far more intensely than men do women (!). Of course, best thing is when men make men their objects of fantasy, but that's a different ballgame. Anyway, typical Delhi women's attitude!

Shreyas said...

bloody immoral bastard, you dont respect women, you play around witht the feelings of innocent women and then ruin their lives.
may you burn in hell...and i'll meet you there!!!

tarun said...

How shameful!!!!Under Section 326 of IPC you are punishable for outraging the modesty of women.....Alwayz expected from IITians....rofl

nandeeta said...

neha/poorti..
i think u guys are taking this way too seriously.. checking out the opposite sex is part of growing up.. within limits.. i guess u have to make a distinction b/w casual admiration and harassment..

another thing.. judging the culture of an institution based on one account by one guy... is a tad judgmental dont u think?

Swayamsiddha Das said...

I mean which world are you girls living in if you dont expect guys to think this way especially when they are from engineering colleges which are so completely devoid of girls...studying in an engg college myself I for one know that this a common complaint among guys...

nari-brahmachari said...

Cheers!!! The blogger has in true sense brought out the real scenario that dominates the hostel life of boys in most of the institutes of the country. And living on the edge of education and celebration makes life all the worth to fight of the boredom of professional education. And for u moral girls out there....r u gals nuts or sceamish about sex that u find this stuff so immoral.Someone refered to some section of IPC and the name "shreyas" suggests a male identity..man u go and get ur self examined in some psychiatry department..if u don't find gals interesting at u r age....well all in all a treat to read and a comrade in the crime of admiring hot girls...may u live long and continue to admire girls the way they are......

Varun Bisht said...

They are college students .Priya market is also frequented by school students for the reason .If u ask a psychologist,they would say its normal thing .Boys grow up like that .

himanshu said...

HEY ..!!!!!
DAT'S D TRUE IITian LYF....AFTER THE BURDEN OF HECTIC 8-5 CLASSES... THIS IZ THE BEST WAY TO CHILL....ACTUALLY I'M A FRESHER {FUCHHA}...HAVING FUN IN D IIT...
IIT ROCKSSSS..!!!!!

winky said...

hey man!really IITians rock!! and 2 CHEERS 4 IIT and IITians out there.