Hell, Pricks, Friends, “Koothu,” Jeppiaar: My College
I studied in Sathyabama.
*waits for the “awwwww,” the “poooooor you” and the “OMFG!” to die down*
Contrary to what most people still believe, it is not as bad as it once was. I mean, in the “squads” and the “strictness” sense. For those who don’t know, the squads were the goons employed by the management of the college to “maintain discipline” amongst the students. We have dumb rules like no interacting with the opposite sex(…EVER!!!), no cell phones, only formal wear (plain or striped shirts ONLY for guys, with formal pants, complete with formal leather shoes, et al; girls had to wear salwar-Kameez, with the dupattas properly pinned at their shoulders), guys and girls in separate classrooms in many departments, transport to college and back ONLY by college bus, and many other crazy rules.
Yes, I am from Sathyabama. I survived the place.
When I joined college in 2005, it was notoriously called “hell-hole” and “jail.” The rules were so juvenile, we had more freedom in school! But then, things started to change after the strike. Rather, they changed because of the strike. On paper, the students went on a strike because the college would not get the accreditation of the All India Council for Technical Education. The reason being that if the college wanted to go in for an AICTE inspection, it would have to change half the staff, and pump in loads of cash to improve the infrastructure in some departments. So naturally, the students had a right to feel cheated. But wait, we had much better reasons to go on a strike. We had the squads who made life hell. We had the directors who had half a degrading pea brain each. And we had just seen on the news that the students of SRM College went on a strike and caused a damage of several crores to their college.
And so we went on a strike. I was all for the strike, but not for screwing the infrastructure of my department(Biotechnology). And so I decided to protect my department along with many others. Nothing happened to our department. I was thankful then, but I think otherwise now. Anyway, the amazing students who went on the strike managed to break a few hundred windows(each of which must have cost a rupee at the most. No kidding! It was THAT cheap!), broke the glass of the director’s room(okay, maybe a couple of thousands there) and threw a stone at the chancellor, Jeppiaar(like all the shoe throwers, that freak missed Jeppiaar by miles too. Bloody cretin!).
So we caused a damage of a few thousands to the college, and they decided not to give us any merit certificates or scholarships for two and a half years. Also, they took the 20,000 rupees that they held as caution deposit when we first joined college. They declared that we caused damage of a little over a crore, but that they would handle it. They lied. We caused a damage of a few thousands, and gave them a little over a crore in return. So we were the pricks at the end of the day.
But we rejoiced. We got ourselves about a month or so off. There were riots in the hostel because some of the Tamil guys said that it was a Northy who threw the stone at Jeppiaar and so started beating the crap out of the North Indian guys. The hostel was evacuated, we got a lot of holidays, and we were happy.
I had the best and the worst of my college days during those holidays, but I will not mention those right now.
After the strike, things were better in college. The squads were all beaten up and so not a squad could be seen in the campus. People started using cell phones a bit more openly, but some continued to get caught. Some of the lecturers and professors started acting like watchdogs for the college. Teaching was as bad as ever, with a few rare exceptions. Guys and girls took advantage of the freedom and started doing everything short of mating in campus. Okay, now that is not much, is it? But well, this is Sathyabama, remember? So that is a LOT!
Exams came and exams went. You study hard, you get pathetic grades. You don’t study a word, you end up on top! At least, that is what happened to me. I tried studying when I first joined college. My grades were average. I gave up on it completely in my last 3 semesters, and I figured in the top 3 in class! Of course, the girls always aced the department. They would write absolute crap in their papers but still get the grades. We had seen some of their papers. It was a joke! One could have written the story of a porno in it and still aced the test if one used colour pencils and sketch pens like that! (It is a different matter that one of my classmates actually did write gibberish on aliens taking over the world, how big Pemela Anderson’s assets were, ice cream, etc. and still managed to clear his exams. I have SEEN such papers of his. No kidding!)
So yeah, the girls got the good grades and they were the pride of our college. Isn’t that the case almost everywhere? To prove this point even more, our lady director(her husband is the other director) came up with the idea of “fem-fest.” She was inspired by the IIT Chennai’s cultural fest, Saarang, and decided that our college had to emulate it. But here was the catch. If we had such a fest, it would give the guys and girls a chance to interact. So it HAD to be an all-girls affair. The show went on. It was a massive event. The biggest our college ever came up with. The lady director said that the girls could wear ANYTHING they wanted, even if they wanted to wear “what the movie stars like Trisha and Nayanthara wore.” And that is exactly what they did. Fashion shows, dance competitions, DJ night, Sivamani concert, etc. were the highlights of the show from what I heard.
What were we guys doing then? Well, we were given three days off and were asked not to come anywhere close to the college. That is Sathyabama for you.
I had friends in college. Some who were close, and others who were just the usual friends. The close friends helped me a LOT during exams. I will not deny that. I would go to college without having studied a word and they would list out all the important bits that I should remember while in the exam hall. I did my bit for them at other times. The other friends were awesome too. They were primarily for fun. Barring a couple of absolute pricks in my class, I guess I can call everyone else as my friend. They were a nice bunch. I don’t miss them already, but I might sometime in the future.
For me, the fun part of college was definitely the war on the Head of my Department, Wilson. We had this guy who was a real comic character. He was a joker to the core, but would still try and terrorize the department. Everyone hated him. Well, everyone except for a couple of lecturers who many believe had something going with Wilson. So anyway, this Wilson was a guy who would snatch a one litre steel bottle from the hands of a guy drinking water out of it, and throw it out the window into a marshy area, and then give the excuse that he thought it was a bottle of perfume! He is a guy who went up to dignitaries from leading British Universities and the British Council, and tell them that he wanted to “facilitate” them, instead of “felicitate” them with a memento. He would give us permission to attend a symposium and then tell the girls that if they wanted to attend the same symposium, we boys had to be stopped, as he did not want people from other colleges to think that his students interacted with the opposite sex. He is also this guy who decided not to pick any guy to host the international conference(yeah right!) because “girls look more colourful on stage.” Would it now be wrong for me to call him a son of a psycho bitch whose balls had to be chopped off and fed to dogs right in front of his own eyes? Cool, right? I thought so!
Now, moving on to the last segment of this post, the part on the guy who built the college. An awesome visionary, with immense power and even more money in his hands at the moment. I am talking about Jeppiaar. He is best known for his laugh-your-arse-off funny English. He starts every speech with “Today is a very kood day. Everyday is kood day, but today very very kood day.” He doesn’t know “al-qaeda,” and so calls them “aigodallah” instead. Some quotes from his speech that I wrote down on my first ever day of college:
He was telling the parents that their kids were in safe hands. This is how he said it:
“You hand it over the childraan my hands. All the job karanty I kivu(give) your hand. You not come over here faar(for) ungee-bangee(???) business.
For the students who were going to stay in the hostel and thought that they could get away from the hostel once in a while by trying to act smart, here is what he had to say:
“Doctor sartipeeket not value in this cambus. If son not well, parents come to campus. Sometime bring hire-father mother. Then fax message. Fax come. Grandfather not well seriously.
That not in our syllabus. No parmissan!”
On Teachers’ day, here is how he opened his address:
“Because today yuvar(your) day, happiest day, memorable day, happy day. That is why you all claffeeng(clapping) to all the teachers.
Only one day yevaryday(everyday). No yevaryday. Because teacher is a guru. Matha Pitha Kuladaivam (for Matha Pita Guru Deivam)!!!”
He then went on to say that teachers were always respected no matter what. This is how he said it:
“You are all the koschan(question) rise. Deechar not the kood. You are not the yevaryday study. Only exam study. Deechar yevaryday study. So deechar very impordand.
Today Prime Minister, tomorrow ex-PM.
Today President, tomorrow faarmer-President.
Today propessar, always propessar.
Today, chudiciary(judiciary) in the judges and deechar is the highest salary. All the frofessan(profession) is the deechar frofessan best frofessan.
The man is so many candrees(countries) is the envoy. The memorable frofession, the starting frofession on the Deechar’s day.”
There is a LOT more, but I do not have the exact quotes for complete sentences, and I do not want to make up any of the stuff. So I will stop here.
I nearly forgot, Sathayabama is the only college I know which does not allow parents to enter the college on the day of the convocation of their kids! I mean, which college has such rules?! Parents would WANT to be there to see their kids graduate, but our college thinks that is not how things should work. That is Sathyabama for you!
So yeah, I studied in a college with that guy as the Chancellor of the university, a total MOFO for the head of my department and many imbecile dicks for students, who were more interested in breaking one-rupee windows than their merit certificates. I would like to believe that this college has not changed me one bit, but then I would be lying to myself. The past four years have been the biggest learning experience of my life. Go to hell, and you learn to deal with Limbo better. Go to Sathyabama, and you learn to deal with life better.