For ‘chai’ and chitchat
ABHIJIT DEV KUMAR
Canteen is ‘the’ hub for gyaan about college, discussions and chinwag
Photo: R.V. Moorthy
Hot spot: There is a lot to talk about over food in the canteen after classes.
Class rooms, bunking lectures, friends, MP3 players, bikes and mobile phones - the best years of one’s life are spent to the fullest and what could be more entertaining than the most important place at college, the canteen.
Well call it what you may, a place where freshers treat their seniors, a hangout for students bunking classes and a ‘fill up’ spot for college athletes. A substitute for the peepal tree, it’s where students get their ‘gyaan’ about college from seniors and lots more.
Be it the full course menu along with Chinese food, chaat and many other delicacies with good ambience or the simple old tea stall, there is a lot to talk about over food. “It is one of the happening places in college. We may
not attend the regular discussion forums that are organised at college, but real discussions happen here right in the canteen,” says Sahil Gupta, an engineering student from JNTU.
One can see groups of students huddled together either laughing whole-heartedly or deep in conversation about the recent lecture that they just attended. The watering hole indeed attracts students of all kinds be it geeks, artists, gamers, athletes, the theatre club, you name them. “We talk a lot about our band, compositions and music equipment. It might be for a little time, but the place makes you forget the monotony of classroom lectures,” says K. Akshat, a student from Nizam College.
One of the things that students boast about is the menu. For Tarandeep Singh, a student from Guru Nanak Engineering College, canteen is all about food and ‘bindass timepass’.
“The menu changes every other day, so we have a variety of dishes to choose from. But the whole idea is about whiling away time with college buddies. The canteen is a chilled out place”, says Taran.
Many colleges wouldn’t have the kind of ambience that Osmania University would offer. Here, the scene is totally different. The University has innumerable tea stalls and bread omelette bundis where one could see students sippi
ng chai, engrossed in conversation under immense green cover.
“The tea stall behind Art’s college is where all of us hang out. It’s just the right place to be after classes are done with. Tea coupled with open air is addictive, it’s the best place in the university,” says Purnima Rao, a communications student. Of course, canteens of every university have their own charm and the tastes and choices differ from place to place. But the spirit has a striking resemblance.
Some canteens may not be like the ones that are shown in movies where it eventually turns in to a wrestling ring. The flipside is attendees and students at canteens share a special bond where no orders are taken but the former knows what is to be kept on the table.
“We have Raju Bhai here at Nizam College who knows what each student likes, hates, quantity of food and stuff like that. I don’t even tell him what to get, he brings a plate of samosas and chai as soon
as I get to the canteen,” says Vimal Thakur.
The huge campuses of universities across the State provide opportunity for canteen wallahs to run the show beyond college timings and into the wee hours serving the hostellers in particular. The omelette kiosks near hostels in majority of universities have become a part of campus ambience. They are open till late in the night where one can see students having a quick bite before going to bed.
“Sometimes we stay up late in the night completing assignments and projects. But after a long days’ work, each one of us heads right to the bread omelette kiosk.” says Nagmesh Kumar, a student pursuing Bio Medical Engineering at Osmania University.
All said and done, the college canteen is a place that makes a special connection with a student.
Good memories come back when one drops by at the chilled out place once in a while after graduation.
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