NEBU – Those halcyon days

Right out of school, all wide- eyed and eager to know about the world and its ways, in batches we had flocked to the place, the memories of which we cherish till today. Nature, in all its abundance, threw open her arms to embrace us, in the middle of which was this 'quaint medical college', a little uncared and unkempt perhaps, but with an undeniable warmth. Most of us were thrilled seeing the place, some a trifle sad at having to leave home and a handful even sadder at the prospect of having to live in the middle of nowhere!

The hostels, looked like remains of a war torn city in the middle east and using the toilets there was the first lesson in growing up! The food in the mess looked and smelt awful after home and yet, even now after so many years, there are time when one yearns for that particular 'messer machher jhol' , the flavor and consistency of which remained virtually unchanged over the years one spent there. Why? Because, the meals there were our first teacher in understanding the value of commune and camaraderie!

Batch mates became friends for life, seniors followed. Immediate ones, the ones above, yet above and yet above them who were so awe inspiring in there looks and demeanour, it was almost like looking at one’s ultimate destination in life. And yet, it was in a very short time evident that, it’s a one big family that we were all in. One remembers getting scolded by a ‘didi’ almost six years our senior, for not being properly protected in winter. The warmth of the sweater is forgotten, but the warmth of that chiding still remains very close to one’s heart. The intimidating sizes of the text books notwithstanding, all of us were drawn into the fold with such ease and grace that even the daunting task of getting a degree after 5 years didn’t look beyond means.

Next came the girls! What with a flowing ‘Balason’ at one end and endless stretches of emerald green fields all around with the almost ribbon – like ‘Link Road’ cutting across into the campus in a weather which was balmy almost all year round, even the most unromantic amongst us would have definitely hazarded furtive glances at them and wished for a partner . Surprise of surprises, even the girls, most of them one found, was not averse to the idea! And so people met, and kept meeting and grew up everyday in terms of growing up and some of us, who’ve carried our college mates, back home, are still growing up!!

Some memories will never fade - the 3 odd buses plying to and from Siliguri with names like "Rangapani' and 'Chaterhaat' thrown in for good measure, the pleasure of travelling on a bus roof (comfort less and chivalry more, really), the spine chilling moments of walking past the dissection hall at night, the mesmerizing smile of 'Pundit' and falling into the trap of a huge debt courtesy 'pastries' and 'thanda' which were probably never consumed, the ever ready 'Ranjit and Kailash' with their 'jhuri - bonde' - the trademark dish of Nebu in the mid '80s, the reckless abandon with which 'changta' and 'aapsu' were consumed in the hostel in later years. The list is endless. Special mention should be made of the multipurpose hall - sweet and resonating when people performed on stage, bitter and terrifying when the 'profs' came with all their complexities and doubts. The hall couldn't have been more aptly named
And we, who've formed this society today, have flowered from that one garden. Disagree if you will, but the fact remains that NBMC is the one place where all of us learnt how to treat, to love, to live. If meeting from time to time and cherishing with fondness the flavor of Nebu be a mark of respect then so be it but the place demands nothing of us, just nothing - much like a happy parent simply glad in watching its offsprings doing well in life.