There are not many memories that give me a better feeling than my days at Union Christian College, Aluva – where I attended for my MA English. I have been to other educational institutions for a longer period of time, but there was nothing like being in this college which had the most interesting days of my life. It was like each and every day was special, and had something new for me. I have always been a lazy person who hesitated to go for the classes, but everything changed and I came out of there as a different person.
There is something about learning English Literature in one of the oldest and the most reputed colleges in Kerala. With a green campus full of trees and having a number of old buildings of antique value which takes us to world beyond the busy traffic right outside the gate, being at UC College is a privilege that I never thought I would have, and for the same, I would like to thank God as I could get the admission by merit itself without any trouble, and that is one miracle that stays on my list forever.
We had our classes right on the block on the back side of the oldest building around, surrounded by trees and having a shortcut to the canteen. The first thing we notice there being the lines from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”, I entered the classroom with doubts about what was next in my life. I was quite late for post-graduation, as I had changed my graduation to Literature after having my way with Computer Application.
1. The Strangers’ Paradise: I entered this place, which was the paradise of strangers, a world which had students who had taken graduation from different colleges. There were eighteen including two of us boys, a number which decreased to thirteen by the final year. Most of them didn’t know each other, and what made me feel better was that nobody knew me at all. Being a stranger among strangers was fair, the right point to make an introduction. I could make the right impression, but still I ended up being just me, and thinking about it, that was the best thing that I did there – being myself.
2. The Strength of Tea: The first thing I asked after getting there was about the canteen. Yes, the toilet and the library are significant, but there was the need for tea. Ever since finding the place, I was a regular visitor there, even meeting the teachers further there. It is the place which tells us that our teachers are awesome, over a cup of tea. We know our friends better at the canteen with the tea, and meet a lot more people there. We might still not know them directly, but it is a certainty that if we see them somewhere outside the college or on Facebook, we know who they are. I used to jump out of the classroom for the same reason, having a cup of tea between the hours.
3. The Literary Power: The power of the library was clear right from the beginning, and I was clear about it before joining the college. We were blessed with a very old library which had a very good collection of literary works, but nothing new though. I used to make some frequent visits to library in the beginning, a habit which I somewhat abandoned as I could get the e-books in an easier way. But then, there was the idea of helping others to get the book – with canteen so close to the library, how could I not choose to go to the library? Cutlet and tea with books – a fair choice.
4. Seminars of the World: A habit which soon developed was to go for literature based seminars at different colleges. Even as there were some of us going in the beginning, soon there was the practice of going together or staying at home so that there would be no class. But soon, some of the studious girls would develop the practice of going to the college to listen to the lectures based on syllabus, and I had to go alone or in smaller groups. But we got the attendance, and the classes rarely mattered to me as I had enough material to go through. The journeys on a Chevrolet Beat also started with these, making my car a regular visitor to the college.
5. Change of Perspective: The first few months had us taking down lecture notes as well as those which are provided to us. Then the situation changes to just writing down some random things, pretending to write and finally ends up not writing anything at all. Yes, there are the studious girls who got to write them, but we are people of the last bench. We know that it is not by what is taught in the classes that we are redeemed when the examinations arrive. We know that we have to read, and not accepting whatever is taught in a class; that is about having one’s own perspective.
6. The Quiz Surprise: Even as the things were going okay, nothing really made an impact like this surprise. There was the inter-college quiz competition for which I was told to go, just because there was the shortage of willing people; that was a nice journey, with two teams of us participating in the same, and myself and my partner winning the second prize. That was quite a turning point, with myself going to more of the competitions, with different partners – that was the beginning of the next phase which came only in the final year. I admired the department for the support here, and those who accompanied me for the competitions.
7. Political Extravaganza: Politics was banned for the first year I joined there as there were some bad incidents. But it came back with full power in the next year, with the Communist students wing SFI gaining most of the seats and the other Communist wing AISF coming so close. Congress’ KSU came right down and BJP’s ABVP managed one seat. It was not the result that caught my attention though, because it was the campaigning which has the beauty about it. There were thos nice artworks to support the parties as well as some cultural stuff. Who can forget those strikes which gave us more freedom?
8. Before Final Destination: Then came the season of trouble; the time for the final exams followed by the time dedicated for the thesis. There were lot of turbulence out there, especially concerning the studious girls, worried about the marks as well as how their thesis will look for others; but the rest of us were pretty sure that they will score high as usual and were just making a scene to bother us – that ended well. Among this maddening crowd, the thesis progressed fine,, and I am glad to say that I enjoyed working on my topic, and the support from the English Department was splendid.
If I have the opportunity to go through all these, I would be glad to – it is that kind of a feeling that this college has left me with. It is not that I have never thought about it, and taking another post graduation in History would have been a perfect choice. But considering the fact that the syllabus has changed and so has the new generation, I would just end up being an outdated man, not old enough and yet not working well with the younger generation. So, I shall happily hold on to these memories which remain special for me.
Five bloggers I tag here are Namrata, Maniparna, Kokila, Rohit and Nishi. I wish them best of luck 🙂
I also thank Sagarika for the tag 🙂 and My Yatra Diary for this opportunity.
*All the photos used here were taken on my former phone – Samsung Star Duos.