days at uni
As someone once said, "University life is
a bit like love; anticipated with relish, experienced with discomfort
and remembered with nostalgia".
at University - I always dreamt of doing it. Ever since I was young,
one of my main priorities in life has been to take on this particular
challenge. Though fully aware of all the complexities that would
come with it, I have spent whole afternoons in the past wondering
if University would really be that place of dreams that everyone
who's been there, claims it to be.
Once I got
over the initial jubilation of being accepted into this institution,
which according to our Vice Chancellor brings together the 'cream
of our country' ( I wonder), I had to change mode quickly and enter
a totally different mind frame. Having had a break from studies
for almost a year and a half, it was obviously a bit difficult to
get back into the groove where reference, libraries, exams, tutorials
and assignments would become 'the way forward'.
Most of my
friends have opted to go overseas and discover greener pastures
in the form of degrees in medicine, law and business studies at
reputed colleges such as Cambridge, King's, Imperial and Manchester,
while the rest preferred to stay here and either get their Attorney's-at-Law,
do a marketing degree or simply start working on their careers.
What amazes me is the fact that I too went in for a few of these
options... but came a full circle, and dived right back into that
began, with me being a bundle of nerves and worrying about anything
and everything. There must be no other institution in any part of
the world where students worry this much about their attire, about
not offending anyone and strive to master the art of being friendly
towards their seniors, always keeping in mind that they ARE indeed
seniors and need their share of respect! Believe me, these first
few days at University have got to be the most stressful ones in
all of our young lives.
If you want
to learn the real art of surviving, congratulations - you have entered
the right domain! Having those old school friends with you is one
plus point when entering this big bad world. For me, going in with
just two people I already knew wasn't very helpful, but as is the
normal scenario, with time comes new friends. When a bunch of strangers
are thrown in together in an alien environment, bonding just comes
Doing the exact
same subject combination, and so having each other literally 'in
your face' every single day, our group so far, seems to be getting
along quite well! Variety sure is the spice of life for me at campus,
since the interests of the crowd I am with, is so contrasting. Drama,
music, rugger, dancing - you name it, it's there! We've even got
our very own Rocker whose capabilities of singing his heart out
on a stage on a Saturday night and then listening attentively to
a lecture on Homer's Iliad for Western Classical Culture the next
Tuesday, never fails to amaze me!
Then we come
to that ever famous, ever present phenomenon of ragging. Thanks
to the horror stories that keep surfacing ever so often, it is natural
for all first years to be bracing themselves for something terrible.
In this frame of mind, almost everything seems to signify the epitome
of ragging. Be it walking up the lengthy, renowned kanda (which
is an intrinsic feature of our campus) when you are already late
for your lectures, having to walk by seniors who seem to relish
the thought of glaring at you while being comfortably perched on
the Thel Bamma, and finally being asked utterly simple questions
about yourself (which you were expected to answer when you were
in pre-school) such as your name, school and subject combination,
believe me, as simple as these exercises may sound, they are more
than capable of making your palms clammy! But other than these routines,
there really is no ragging in that form of the word, so all you
potential freshers, fear not.
One thing that
baffles me about University is how exactly the cost of living factor
does not affect it - breakfast for just 10 rupees, tea for one fifty,
lunch for twenty rupees, photo copies for two bucks. The amazing
list goes on. Unlimited access to the Internet and e-mail are among
the more luxurious facilities available.
in University for just about a month so far, I've got to admit I
like what I see. It's all about adjusting to this foreign environment,
complete with its very own culture and traditions that no one dares
to change. Problems within the system are bound to crop up sometime,
but I've always believed that the best feature of problems is that
they have the knack of solving themselves.
I finally feel
that I've found my niche - this is where I've always wanted to be,
and now that I'm here, I'm loving every moment. From long chats
on life, to discovering new friends and laughing at each other's
jokes, this maybe proving itself to be that place of dreams after
all. And for someone who knows zilch about love, I'm hoping University
life can teach me a thing or two about anticipating with relish,
experiencing with discomfort and remembering with nostalgia.
you more than anything
Whom do we turn to when we're
unwell or confused? Our pets, of course.
Pink's closest companion is a Jack Russell, while the most reliable
male in Julia Roberts' life is a Labrador called Diego. Alicia Silverstone
cuddles up to her rottweiller-pit bull cross Samson, and Madonna
was devoted to her chihuahuas Chiquita, Rosita and Evita until the
birth of her son Rocco meant she was forced to give Chiquita and
Rosita to a friend.
have kept pets for thousands of years. Examine the hieroglyphics
of ancient Egypt, and you will discover images of cats and dogs
warned Londoners to keep their household dogs from wandering, while
a 16th century German visitor to London noted that some of the mastiffs
he saw were "so large and heavy that if they have to be transported
long distances, they are provided with shoes so that they do not
wear out their feet".
Pets, it seems,
are far better equipped than friends and family to provide us with
comfort and companionship, loyalty and devotion when we most need
United football star Roy Keane was banished from the Irish team
during the 2002 World Cup, he sought solace in walks with his dog
Triggs in the fields near his Cheshire home. And, according to the
fiery footballer, it was strolling with his four-legged friend that
helped him see sense when he considered quitting football altogether
after he was sent off during a game against Newcastle.
Triggs a long way," he said, "running the options through
Manchester United fans around the world - not to mention manager
Sir Alex Ferguson - will be grateful to the dog for persuading him
Even Sinn Fein
president Gerry Adams - reviled by many as a glorified terrorist
- admits to being soft when it comes to dogs, describing himself
as a "real Steve McQueen, hardcore, irredeemable, never-say-die
Such is his
fondness for canine companionship that while he was interned during
the mid-1970s, Adams and some of his fellow prisoners stole a black-and-white
collie pup from their British army guards.
pup didn't last long before it was returned by our inquisitive guards
to its anxious mother," says Adams, who now owns a Rottweiler
called Cara and a "nearly all" King Charles named Oscar.
"But it was worth the risk."
boxing champion Mike Tyson has a suitably heavyweight pet in the
form of Kenya, a 45 stone white tiger. It was poor old Kenya that
Tyson blamed after the boxer received a ban for biting rival Evander
Holyfield's ear - a tactic Tyson said he used to show the tiger
who was boss.
long, lonely hours when British hat designer Philip Treacy is working
on his latest creations, it is his faithful Jack Russell Mr Pig
who keeps him company.
hats can be very solitary," says Treacy. "You end up sitting
on your own for hours - and he stays with me, watching everything.
He's very sensitive."
In return, Treacy
lavishes his pet with all the luxury and pampering he can afford,
dressing him in a red quilted collar by Chanel, and putting him
to rest at night in a bed crafted from "Mongolian lamb, by
Louis Vuitton". Apparently, Treacy even hired Grace Jones to
sing Happy Birthday to the Jack Russell.
toward pets is by no means a modern phenomenon.
animal collars now produced by fashion houses such as Chanel and
Burberry have precedents in the collars "colered with gold
and torretes filed round" that Geoffrey Chaucer noted were
worn by noble dogs at court in his Knight's Tale. In China, archaeologists
have recovered a collar of gold, silver and turquoise on a dog buried
with the pre-dynastic King Cuo, and during the Renaissance, pets
at the noble courts of Europe were dressed in coats and capes to
keep them warm.
In the 16th
century, the Medici family even adorned their dogs with ribbons
and earrings, a fashion they exported with their daughters to the
French royal court - a 1660 portrait shows Henriette d'Orleans'
dog sporting a pair of ornate drop earrings. And, by 1833 in England,
a young Princess Victoria reported in her diary that she had "dressed
dear sweet little Dash in a scarlet jacket and blue trousers".
next few decades, several Parisian boutiques began selling a wide
range of luxurious dog accessories. Aux Etats-Unis stocked "collars
of the latest style, overcoats and kennels"; the Palais-Royal
sold lace underwear for chiens de luxe; and Lochet aine and Dedertrand
advertised winter and summer costumes, raincoats and beachwear with
sailors' collars stitched with the names of the fashionable beaches
of Cabourg and Trouville.
By the 20th
century, India's Maharajah of Junagadh dressed his favourite dog
in necklaces and had her carried on a silver palanquin (he also
established a hospital for the rest of his 800 pet dogs), while
the Duke and Duchess of Windsor decked out their pugs with wing
collars and bow ties and held them with leads woven from silver
and gold thread.
Over the centuries,
cats, too, have been loved and adored by their human owners. The
Ming Dynasty of China so revered the feline species that it banned
dogs from the Ancestral Temple and palaces. Even after the court
of the Manchu restored the Pekingese dog in 1644, princesses continued
to keep cats as pets. "Chinese ladies never allow them to leave
their apartments where the most delicate of nourishment and the
tenderest of care are lavished upon them," wrote the Abbe Grosier
In Russia, when
revolutionaries arrested Tsar Nicholas II's cousin, the Grand Duke
Nikolai Mikhailovich, the duke begged his persecutors to let him
take his cat with him to the Peter and Paul fortress in St Petersburg.
The guards relented. But, despite Maxim Gorky's pleas to release
Mikhailovich, he was executed - his beloved cat still curled on
It is just
that kind of unconditional devotion that explains our continuing
penchant for keeping pets. Our allies and supporters in times of
trouble, pain and adversity, they are always there to remind us
of the priceless gift of love.
As writer Axel
Munthe expressed it in The Story of San Michele, a pet remains a
reassuring presence at our side to the very last: "Don't worry!
Never mind if they all abandon you, I am here to replace all your
friends and to fight all your enemies."
And, as every
pet owner knows, you can't ask more than that.