Having secured a position in one of the top engineering institutes in the country, I was feeling happy and proud to be amongst the few who are able to get there. However, who knew what awaited us, in the quaint and little steel city of Eastern India – Rourkela.
Having already met Nishant (keli:)) and Anand (Dwivedi) during my counselling at Lucknow, I knew a few people before I reached Rourkela. On board the famed Kalinga Utkala Express on September 28, 2001, I and my dad headed towards our destination. At Jhansi, we suddenly hear some noise in the nearby seat. As the chat became clearer and loud, we came to know that these 2 people were headed to Rourkela too. And we knew that the father is accompanying his son to NIT Rourkela as my dad was and we started off. After exchanging those usual pleasantries, we shared our identities and I came to know that I have a new friend Abhishek Sharma (Mathura) from Mathura joining me and a lot others at NIT Rourkela. Mathura, as he affectionately came to be known in the college, seemed a docile and a shy guy and I guess, his initial reading of me would be the same, though, I was not that shy, as he seemed :)
Well, we reached Rourkela in the evening and were quickly taken to a nearby hotel by an auto rickshaw guy. I still remember, the whole night, I couldn't sleep properly as the thoughts of stepping into a whole new world ran in my mind. After getting up the next morning, we hired an auto rickshaw to reach the college. We had just reached the gates of the administration office, and a few senior students welcomed us there, checking whether we were from UP or not? As we said, we were, they readily greeted us and our fathers and told us that as the college was closed today, we could be admitted only tomorrow and hence we should go towards the hostel, where all the arrangements for our stay were made!! We were quite surprised at the hospitality and the warmth shown by the seniors and promptly agreed to go along them, little knowing the fact that we were headed into a soup!!
We reached the Hall 3 (the hostel for second year boys) and were taken to room no 32 where another 6-7 second year seniors were waiting for us with a few first year students like us. Quickly we introduced ourselves and then again they made us and our parents very comfortable and requested them to excuse us as they would take us around and show the campus. And we knew we were heading towards something. The only pleasing factor was that we were 5 of us together and beamed in that fact!!
The second year seniors didn’t spare minutes to give us the fundas of college. The so called “ragging ke funde”!! Did I love it? I must admit, at first thought, they sounded too harsh and strict, but believe me, to our astonishment, anyone who had gone through all that, had loved it always and cherished those days the whole of his life!!
We were then as a tradition, taken to the hostel of the final year students. That, I must say was a jolly good time, even though, some of the acts were really funny and embarrassing. Those were the acts, which we still laugh at, when we sit together. How can one forget the way Mathura picked up the pen, Sandeep (Aala boy) talked and I, Amit Verma (Verma) and Rohit (buddha) were asked certain embarrassing but yet funny questions. I swear, each one of us still remember them!!