Monday, December 18, 2006

D school factors

No one afternoon spent at D school seems terribly distinguishable from any other time spent there. As it turns out, there have been quite a few of those times -- afternoons, lunches, mornings, sometimes even half pathetic early evenings. The Delhi School Of Economics, "God forsaken D school".

It's supposed to a damn good stamp on the CV. Except while there, on any of those days that are just so disorienting in their placid similarity -- and not necessarily by way of complaint -- the place seems rather ordinary. The main building is pink. Pink. P for Postgraduate. All grown up, we are. It's obviously an outsider's perspective. But as it also turns out, frequent outsider. For it's where boyo is enrolled. Boyo; for whom the tag fits, like it was tailored to. And so I get to observe, and witness, and register, and remember the place's steadiness. The way it doesn't change. Every fool observes the pink. Can't miss the Canteen either. The debt though, that some hungry souls seem to perpetually be in, is easier to let slip. To think its only a matter of a few weeks before distasteful banter about who's buying whom a measly plate of mutton cutlets/rajma chawal would well be a thing of the past, with the pay packets that invariably come their way. Chai is easier. J.P Tea Stall. The crucial affordability factor, purchasing power if you will-- economics speak. Phhbt. And in Delhi's nine month long summer, the iced tea is far better than that of sundry Nescafe counters across the street. Cheaper too. The other stuff is just translucent sugar syrup in a cheery paper cup.

It's always the same. D school. That mongrel pups grow up may be the only way to tell apart July from end October. Come to think of it, the peachy- albino skin tone of the many mongrels goes pretty well with the pink building. Same rabid routine, perfectly matched to the consistent insipidity of the grub there. (ref. the cement shaded idlis bobbing around in dishwater sambhar.) Strolling across to that place becomes a habit. It isn't even far enough to take a rick to, especially when every penny counts as a drop towards the never quite oceanic fund for cigarrettes. You see the same people there everyday, same familiar strangers, some that've become good acquaintances -- you might call them friends even, just by virtue of the common malady -- vella-ness. So you end up knowing What's Up in their lives, and So And So bums a cigarette off fellow So And So. Queries about who has stuff lying with them get sorted, and you end up in what you foolishly allow yourself to believe are inconspicuous corners, with these same friendly acquaintances just for a few nauseating drags. And sometimes it does hit, so dementia invariably follows, and the metro seems to spin faster than normal. Not much to do thereafter so you repeat everything you've already done.

There's good coffee inside the canteen; although to soak in the sun/crowd/general tame gossip, the white chipped cups can be carried outside. And if you leave them there once you've arisen, dogs will come and lick the rim. If they're the friendly, chilled sort they'll come while you're still around. Steel thalis with remnants of rocky rice balls are quickly smacked clean by these manged though benign creatures. The only preoccupation is to sit in the sun, and watch all sorts hanging around. Mentally rate -- on the imaginary, ever present attraction barometer -- and completely dismiss most of them . Chat shit with madcap Allahabadis, and hear stories of sugarcane fields that by every measure beat the crap out of the "duuuude" -- with the prolonged vowel enunciation, and cuss infected talk. Time could stand still there. Nobody looks rushed. They may as well take down that wooden plaque up in the dingy brown-seater canteen urging 'patrons in a hurry' to help themselves, for really, no such entities seem to exist.

3 comments:

nandeeta said...

why is this sad somehow..and cynical...?

BLogographos said...

A superb evocation of the Delhi I remember. I'll be reading...

Cyberswami said...

brilliant. i think i almost like the place now. at least, i'll pay more attention the next time i'm there, i.e., tomorrow.