today was exceptionally cold! right from morning, it looked as it was going to rain. dark clouds filled the sky as fast as a theater at a much-awaited release, and chilly winds began blowing from all over! i left the halls at around 1 with priyanka and her boyfriend srinivas. we were out just for going around kingston and buying some random stuff – veggies, skull caps, slippers etc. went to uni, and sri remembered that he had to go to the accomms office to ask for a change from his original halls (kingston hills) to clayhill. they refused. and surprise surprise!! the ‘don’t-know-any-bag-that-needs-a-chair’ woman was there at the office. she works there and helps international students. just our luck!
Sri: i need to know if i can shift from my original accommodation to a new one.
Woman: where are you located now?
S: i am at kingston hills and i want to move in to clayhill.
W: oh! that’s wonderful. may i know why you want to move?
S: because most of my friends from india are at clayhill.
W: well, i am so sorry. you cannot move in now that you have been allocated a room. you see, it’s an automatic process. we just throw all of you in the air and the system allocates everyone a room on its own. and now that you are away from your friends, it’s a perfect opportunity to make new friends. that’s what university is all about, isn’t it? the only way this could work is if you could find someone who wants to make a direct swap. and it will cost you 50 pounds each as the service charge.
S: ok! thank you ma’m.
W: alright! come along if you want to ask anything else. b’bye.
well, the throwing in the air was a nice thing to know. if that’s what university is all about…!
met ameya and the gang later. they were out to buy cellphones and sim cards. and srinivas had to stay back at the uni as he had some work. priyanka stayed back, and i moved on with joshya baaman and the guys. poor balkrishna was shivering as he had conveniently forgotten his jacket back home. the cold cold wind was lashing around like an angry whip. our hands had gone all numb, as we somehow managed to get into our homely ‘munch’. the owner gave us a friendly, knowing nod and we settled down at our favourite table right in front of the tv. ameya and i ordered two large chicken tikkas with five naans! the food was too good! tikkas made to perfection and naans nice and hot! the wind was forcing its way in. we devoured everything before us like madmen. i have never seen a naan (actually, a big sized tandoori roti) disappear so fast on my plate! all of us felt a bit charged up. we paid, and stepped out, right into a colder wind! the sky was overcast, but it did not rain. thank heavens for that!
it was four by the time we reached a place called PRIMARK. it’s a cloth store where you get stuff at really nice prices. i wanted to buy a pullover, and balkrishna and nivas, a jacket. the store looks expensive, but the price tags are not! i bought really good pullover (as shashank had told me, one with a zipper) for seven pounds. i would’ve got something like that for nothing less than a 1000 rupees back home. also got myself a thermal top (had brought along just the ‘long johns’ as they call the lowers here) for 2.50.
went around to some phone shops, but it was six by then. the market place is like pune. everything shuts off pretty quick. and they won’t entertain you even if you go in, presuming that you might get something there if a shop looks like it is open. so nivas could not buy his cellphone. and i too could not give my film for developing. so you guys will have to wait a bit more for the pictures…
the chill in the air was still around. so balu and nivas wore the jackets they had just bought. i kept mine in as i was sufficiently dressed. we walked to penrhyn, where i met priyanka, srinivas and namrata who were sitting still like kids punished! it was the cold!! hahahahah!!! the guys left off in their bus, and we waited for ours for another 45 minutes or so, our knuckles being frozen into hard ice by the wind!
the wind trying to get in from wherever it can, the numb fingers, the wetness you feel in your nose as you pull in air, walking with the toes pulled in…all reminded me very very much of my har-ki-doon trek. unforgettable experience! every day is imprinted in my head…
well, got back home and made dinner with srinivas. the girls are pretty useless in that department. the onions namrata cry for real and give up. she was pretty scared of the huge knife i have bought for the kitchen, and priyanka helped around a bit, mostly by giving sri instructions he didn’t need!! sri made excellent sambar, priyanka made rice and i made the french beans. the whole kitchen was now smelling and looking like kitchens back home!!! felt good!! we decided to go for a walk after dinner. everyone turned up pretty geared up to battle the cold outside. i decided to try out my new pullover. namrata and priyanka had their mufflers and gloves on. it was much colder than in the day. we walked around for half a block, and thought it better to be back in the familiar warmth of our rooms! but it felt good! could have gone further if i too had a muffler on – or a skull cap. that reminds me to get one pronto! will go out tomorrow and buy a nice one. i have one with me actually, but it looks like something that 70+ pensioners wear in pune! also need to give the film for developing.
all that for tomorrow. hope it is not so cold…but that’s fine. anything that puts me back in har-ki-doon is good!