The Canteen Has A Very Special Place In My Heart

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Be it someone who gives a ‘guest appearance’ in the lectures or a nerdy mathematics genius, colleges house many unforgettable memories. More than the classrooms- the little area below the stairway, the parking lot, the library and most importantly the canteen is what people miss the most.

A place where students are more conscious and all dressed up is the canteen. They might have not attended a lecture the entire week, yet their attendance in the canteen is a given. The canteen is where the latest trends get displayed along with amusing fashion faux pas being committed, as well as talking by the water coolers from businesses like KingsWater, so they can catch up between lessons. Not to miss watching love bloom or just meeting long lost friends.

The thought of going back to the college days and reliving those fond memories have made most of us nostalgic, We spoke to Puneites who shared some of their best canteen hours with us ..

At 60, Pradeep Ramanadhan, is overwhelmed when he is reminded of the good old days.

“In those days, colleges were nothing like the ones we see today.

“My college had a small boundary which we could easily jump and next to it was the canteen.

Not the lavish one, it was more of an enclosed area with makeshift stalls and people selling a variety of dishes.

“Every morning my friends and I gave attendance at the canteen, then after eating till death and then attended ( rare though! ) the lectures, provided we weren’t asleep by then. Three out of five times, we were caught bunking in the canteen and my mother had to handle the situation at the principal’s office.

“The best part was when my friend and I were told to pick up all the trash as the part of our punishment and keep the canteen clean after the break. What’s best than staying at the canteen the whole day that too without hiding from someone,” he adds giggling.

“It’s been only four months that I left college and I take every opportunity to visit my college again,” says Ritika (25). “Attaining an ‘A’ grade was tough and all the credit goes to the canteen.

Being a hostelite, I would ‘eat, study and repeat’ sitting in the canteen. I could even recognize who among the canteen staff prepared which dish, that is loyalty though!

“In my comfortable pajamas, I could be found there almost all the time. Many would come and go, but I was the constant. The canteen staff would also make use of me sitting there, by testing all the experimental dishes on me before selling them. Nothing is more devastating than a closed canteen because that’s when we realise how homeless we are,” she adds.

From love affairs to stalking her ex, Supriya (27) has done it all in the canteen. “I used to attend the morning lectures but going away from the canteen after the break was damn tough.

I would sit at one of the benches with a ‘cutting chai’ and would gaze at boys from the other streams.

“Some gave me weird looks as if staring at people was only a guy thing while others indulged with me in the staring game. This is how I eventually got into a relationship which lasted all of 46 days!

“From then on my pastime was to embarrass my ex among the hundred girls he was trying for. My tom-boy attitude wasn’t appreciated, obviously because ‘who likes women disguised as men’.

But yes, that canteen will always have a part of me,” she adds.

“A perfect place to throw a low budget party is the college canteen,” says Shreyas (22). “Of course, I don’t have money almost the entire month because I have ‘stuff’ that I enjoy rather than spending money on food. But our friends are the successors of ‘Kumbh Karn’, always up for a treat even if you have failed the term. Thankfully, the canteen guy is humble enough to accept my branded stuff just to feed these hungry souls.

“Even on holidays, we go to the canteen because, ‘Chai, Sutta and Canteen Ki Yaari’ is more than anything now,” he adds playfully.

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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