Those of us who had a boyfriend or a girlfriend walked a lot. Evenings saw couples walking their heels off (literally) along the picturesque roads of the township.
Past the hospital, around the main gate, by the administrative building, round the theatre hall and along the lake we just roamed and roamed. Couples – tall and short, thin and fat, happy and grumpy.
But almost all with a paper bag in hand – a paper bag of snacks. A samosa here to a cutlet there – sharing food, conversation and love.
The walk almost always started from the girls’ hostel. After the girl joined the guy who waited for her like the chatak waits for the rain. The couple then would start taking steps that smeared “walking”’s face with humiliation but made even the slowest turtle proud of his speed.
They walked literally measuring the length of the road with their feet – past the college gate into the township, past the park into the theater compound, past the hospital into the sports ground. Sometimes they got tired and sat down on one of the numerous culverts to rest.
An ice cream or soda seller would pop up and if they felt rich, they would buy one from him.
|A tree in full bloom in campus|
In the half darkness of the approaching night the duration of their togetherness was easily determined. No not by their proximity, but how they acted if a professor happened to pass by on foot or bicycle. The newer ones tried to hide while the veterans stood proud with straight necks and high held heads.
During semesters the classmate-couples carried their notes during the walk. Preparations and revisions – where better than on the tree lined roads?
Five miles a day, at a snail’s pace in more or less four hours – the “walk”. You could not be a college couple if you didn’t take that walk! There were names, mean names for the odd ones.
Oh the youth. The stupid naivety to want to be cool by conforming. And the sadistic kick from trying to bring down those who defied.
But that’s what college is all about – rules, disciplines, traditions and groupisms. College is hardly ever about individual choices!
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