says Niraja Naresh Samant, energy worker, tarot card reader and graphology artist.
I did my BE in electronics in 2011-12 from SNDT University. My college had a big campus with lots of greenery. It had a very refreshing influence on us. It is very rare to get a green campus in Mumbai. On the first day of college I was very happy and a bit nervous too. It was a new phase and I was at the threshold of a new phase of my life. My professors were great and I love them and am grateful to all of them. I have learned a lot from them. Engineering is always hectic but I used to love that subject. Most of it were mathematical studies. I believe that to unlock the future you should work on your present, all the good fortunes will follow.
I have lots of interesting anecdotes to share. I spent all of my college life exploring new places. My favorite eating, meeting, and socialising places depended on my mood. If I wanted to eat, the right place was Juhu Chowpatty, if I wanted to spend quality time or had something important to talk about, I preferred Marine Drive. I used to spend most of my time at Crossword, Juhu. I was a part of many groups. I had a study group, trekking and hiking group, photography group, train friends and spiritual group (healing, numerology, tarot card readers).
My best friend and I used to share every minor detail on phone. One day we were on a bike and I was driving. In the back seat, she was telling me something very interesting and I was listening to her while concentrating on the traffic at the same time. I was not responding but she kept talking continuously. After a long time, when she didn't get any reply, she shouted "Hello!" as if she was on her phone! I was confused. I knew she was not going to carry her cell phone. Then how and whom was she talking to for such a long time? I was in my thoughts when she suddenly held my shoulders and shook me and again asked, "Are you listening to me?" We came to a halt and I gaped at her.
Pranks are unavoidable in hostels. In our hostel, a room was rumored to be haunted where a former student had committed suicide. People claimed to hear ‘ghungaru’ and ghostly activities in the nearby washrooms as well. That room was just beside my dorm room. In our times, we used to get preparation leaves before exams and not many girls inhabited the hostel at that time. But fortunately, for me, my rude senior roommate decided to stay. Now was the perfect time to give it back to her. I knew she was scared about these haunted stories. One night when the security guard had fallen asleep, we burnt candles, made ghungaru noises and all sorts of paranormal voices. She was scared out of her wits. She was crying her eyes out and ended up in the nearby hospital with high fever and low blood pressure. I only felt guilty because it was exam time, otherwise it would have been fun, and I asked myself, "What have I done?"
In my third year of engineering we became so called seniors. I hated writing and completing the journal was a sort of torture. I asked my roommate to complete my assignments and journal. In the bargain, I would complete her engineering sheets. Little did I know that it was going to be the most expensive bargain I had ever made! On the day of submission my professor somehow identified the handwriting in my journal. In front of the entire class he challenged me that it was not my handwriting. I managed to utter only two words, "No, sir". He demanded that I write something on a piece of paper and prove myself right. I had no choice but to look at the journal and copy it. Alas, he announced if it was indeed my handwriting, why would I need to copy it? "I had been to the college and have done the same thing," he said, "I don't mind if you haven't finished your work by yourself but at least be frank about it and say the truth." He let me submit my journal but I was very embarrassed not only in front of the class but also in my heart.
However, when I look back and remember those golden years, I do not remember assignments and projects and presentations. It is the time I spent with my best buddies and talking about each and everything under the sun. It was like we were grown up but there were no responsibilities on our shoulders. It was the time of day-dreaming and working to fulfill the dreams. No matter whichever college you attend, every student will have the same story to tell about his college days, those were the days! I love my college life. Those were some of the best days of my life. I enjoyed every bit of it. I am still in touch with some of my good friends. I treasure the memories a great deal.
—As told to Monarose Sheila Pereira