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UNFURLING UNFORGETTABLE MEMORY

Dr. S. P. Mishra
dr.spmishra@gmail.com

Life is a journey. The journey have to be performed with all hindrances, with all ups
and downs, with all efforts blended with patience, energy with hard working and recreations to
catalyse. Graduating period is always a stepping stone to build the future, and to create and
utilize all facilities for this life long journey. It induces responsibilities, professionalism,
fellowship, sharing attitude, happiness, dream, romance and everything that transform a
teenaged fellow to a better personality. This is equally applicable to all including me. The
student life is such a life of ‘love at first sight’ to be ever unforgettable, even one will be at 2 nd
or 3rd generation.

Today at this junction, under the mid-day hot sun, I just casually look back to the
morning rays of the risen sun. The span is 35 years when I enjoyed the morning rays of
graduation from College of Textile Technology, Berhampore. The studentship at the college, its
unique hostel, the day to day recreational activity, dreaming of the bright day is still fresh in
my mind. I forgot when I transformed myself from a first generation young dreamer to a second
generation responsible person.

Suddenly in hot summer of 1971, I decided to change my life style by joining the textile
course, without much knowledge of its destiny. I traveled to Berhampore by train from my
place, Khurdha Road to Kolkatta and from Kolkatta by bus with all greenery both sides blended
with the aromatic atmosphere of jute cultivation. Along with this atmosphere, the space was
more occupied by migrants from Bangladesh (that time East Pakisthan). On the journey, I had
the first taste of tea in Bengal in the disposable earthen pot. The pot was so beautiful but so
small to have the tasty tea as desired by the shop. Ultimately I landed in a place, which was
unknown to me before that day and which became my place for four years to be the stepping
stone for my life. The hostel was worth to note that time, as the four storied building was like
a tower surrounded by a green field.

My graduating period did not provide me a computer to store my memory, nor a TV for
idle relaxation, nor a calculator to estimate everything within a few seconds, nor any
motorized two wheelers to fast the movement, nor an air conditioned or sleeper class faster

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train for a comfortable journey to and from my home. I traveled from Bhubaneswar to
Berhampore by train. The train from Bhubaneswar to Howrah did not have the sleeper class or
an electric engine. Of course, there was some sleeping berth. But the journey had to be
performed with caution for coal dust dashing inside the compartment. The usual train journey
from Howrah to Bhubaneswar was around 9 hrs, during those periods. But I got the
“opportunity” to travel the same span in 44 hrs during October 1973 without food and water.
This was because of the floods in Orissa and West Bengal. The view of floods with water, water
and water from the train was something different with snakes, broken trees and what not. The
train ride from Sealdah to Berhampore was by Lalgola Passenger. From Krishnanagar to
Berhampore, through Bethuadihari, Plassey and Beldanga, the journey was more challenging.
The train tasted our patience and equally our memory, reminded history at Plasey. It gave me
as well as my friends more time to view the rural Bengal and the natural Bengal, not present in
the concrete jungle of Kolkatta or Bhubaneswar. The crossing of Howrah to Sealdah was
completed usually by crowded bus journey or pleasant slow tram journey. Sometimes for a
change, I have tried Khagraghat route or Berhampore  Naihati  Bandel  Howrah route.
Once I tried my journey of Sealdah to Howrah via Dankuni. This also gives the scope to view the
sacred river Ganges at different places with different views. In another occasion, I had the
privilege for a casual and adventurous ride, we traveled from Bishnupur to Digha, not knowing
at what time, we can see Digha.

Every year we used to leave for summer vacation leaving behind a dry air, grey field,
dusty roads, and above all unattractive atmosphere. When we come back in July, suddenly the
place became so attractive, so greenery, so romantic and so sweet. The air became moist, the
sky became cloudy and the dusty road became water patched. The road to hostel with
greenery sides created the impression that the road all of a sudden became shorter and the
hostel became so distinctive. With this romantic atmosphere the activity also became
romantic. Thanks to the Rain God. Our “travel” from hostel to college for classes, was
dependent upon the mercy of Rain God. For students like us, umbrella was not a pleasant
addition to our baggage. We were confident and well planned for our own system to have the
classes (?) without teacher in hostel, when Rain God used to bless us. This was followed by
addition of new students and the celebration of “Freshers Welcome”. The freshers welcome
gives the memory of beautiful function, variety of sweets, tasty foods, enjoyable evening and
interaction.

Freshers welcome was followed with heartfelt activity of Pooja. It was then practically
knocking and approaching at a faster speed, by reducing one day in every 24 hours. Pooja is the
most important celebration in all parts of Eastern India. It starts with Mahalaya, followed by

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Pooja for 10 days and ends with Laxmi Pooja. With an annual pattern, post Pooja period was
meant to have All Bengal Educational Tour for pre final year students and All India Educational
Tour for final year students. This all require rigorous planning, exact programming, appropriate
action, and proper execution with all round co-ordination. These events also had post event
influences like sharing the enjoyable activities at different places, different incidents, and any
other matters to be shared. Gradually in course of time, the atmosphere used to become
normal and the activity was more on classes and study.

Absence of Computer and zerox deprived us to collect and store the study material in
our room or in our pen drive without any hardship. This made us to sit in the library for the
appropriate books and notes with pen and for storage in appropriate record. Although it was
hardworking, but half the study work was used to be over with a part transferred to the mind
with permanent storage, once it was well documented in the record. No further
transformation was necessary to the mind before examination. Only refreshing was required
before examination. It also makes the mind more systematic with the storage material, even
though the final examination used to be once in two years. Library activity gave us more self
confident and we used to rely more on books and library than on teachers and class notes.

Equally also, without computer and calculator, we depend more on log table, the tiny
book with all four digit numerical. This was a manual system with direct application of
mathematics. This also refines the mind for analysis, whether it was mathematics, physics,
mechanics, thermodynamics or electrical science followed by different mathematical textile
subjects.

Television deprived us to be more self centred. So we look forward for company and
friends for pictures, for gossip, for company, for evening meetings, and for all creative and
uncreative thoughts. This also gave us confident on our own energy to reach every corner of
the city including markets, cinema halls, etc. Friday to Sunday was prime time for gathering
the requisite information about different movies started in different cinema houses and
selection of appropriate movie. This was followed by planning and execution of planning, with
discussions and might be some motivation to enhance the group strength. Planning and
organization is the function of management and it was experienced without any theory or
books. Strategic planning was more important so as not to miss evening tiffin or night dinner.

That was a period without any fast food, without any stylish food corner, without any
Chinese restaurants and without any bottled mineral water. We were happy and satisfied with
the tea, biscuits, singara, chop and sweets. I enjoyed sweets of all variety at different places

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in the city. In addition, once in a while, we used to try with ‘mudhi’ with ‘telebhaja’ with
round table conferences inside our room. This was an instrumental for better bondage among
friends with all group activity. The hostel period was always healthy and hectic and credit
because of simple healthy and hygienic foods in hostel mess. That was the time, when there
were no powdered packets available for spicing or flavour or aroma. The only ingredients used
were onion, ginger and garlic.

There were no branded garments and fashion was restricted to dictionary only. There
was bormuda, no t shirt, no short pants, no ready made jeans and no shop for it also. For
anything and everything, we had only stitching of the fabrics and no instant purchase. So it was
more traditional apparels with local cut, sew and stitch. This was equally applicable to both
male and females during that time. But it is a sweet memory now to recollect the teenaged
girls in their 9th standard to be in white sari with coloured border. Without any fashion concept,
fashion books and fashion in sarees, these teen aged school going girls started practicing the
style of wearing the sari, the wonder of Indian fashion in 6 yards, with right pleating, right
style and right system. The sari is the longest ever fashion statement in the art of female
attire. This attire is versatile and variable. Just 5 ½ meters of cloth, wrapped around, pleated
in front, then twisted around the body with the remaining part thrown over the shoulder in a
pleated fashion. This is the fashion as well as recognition of Indian women.

This was more predominant at Saraswati Pooja, the function to worship the Goddess of
Education. This was usually done at hostel and it was usually open to public. The hostel was
decorated with lights and arts with beautiful gate to welcome. Equally during the month, the
hostel had variety of flowers and it used to give a beautiful and colourful look. The
performance Pooja was again was used to be planned in advance with proper programming,
with adequate finance, and hard work of all the students with interest. The public used to
experience the artistic talents, the beautiful atmosphere as well as the managerial capabilities
of the hostel mates. The function of Saraswati Pooja begins the period of serious study and
examination with round the clock activities. After the examination, it was always the time of
departure of final year students. Suddenly the heart becomes heavy for the departure and
parting of these wonderful years after transformation to real professional.

After departing, it must be a realization that the student life in this hostel and in this
Institute with limited students gave the scope for better interaction, better bondage in
friendship, better memory, at every time of your life, whether it is 1st generation, or 2nd
generation or 3rd generation. I am sure everyone who was in this process must be cherishing
their sweet and unforgettable memory.

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