College life of an individual’s life is worth remembering. At the onset of adulthood, an individual gets the first taste of freedom at campus. Sometimes the stream of freedom is canalized in the right direction, sometimes in the wrong direction –but it is the time when the individual first feels the joy of breathing in the open air, standing under the open sky. The bonding of friendship that college life usually experiences usually has a life long adhesiveness. ‘And we remained ‘by Asad Ali Junaid is a tale of this unbound youth in the backdrop of an engineering college.
The timing of the story is quite interesting-it is the late nineties when India choose to follow the paths of LPG (liberalization, privatization, globalization) and windows of opportunities were beginning to be opened up to the technocrats of India. It is a fiction based on real happenings and experiences. The curtain of the story has been lifted at Engineering College of Vidyakeerthi University of Bangalore of Karnataka state. It describes an absorbing tale of friendship between five students, Sahir Hassan and Sandeep Gadwal from electrical engineering, Gopal Veeranjaneyalu and Anand Nair from Mechanical engineering and David Williams from electronics. The story line has a span of nearly fourteen years –from 1998 to 2012(or in other words from their college days to their present days). The story presents a mirror image of the campus life, told in a language that gives us the feeling that we are a character of the story itself, in our unconscious mind! The story has been narrated from the viewpoint of the five protagonists starting from their campus life and alternate chapters have been dedicated in narrating their e mails which they had sent to one another after they were out from the college. They were in touch with one another and the way they share the laughter and tears of life gives an impression of the strength of bonding between these five ‘loafers’.
Residential college experience is somehow unique-getting the taste of life to its fullest. (Is it comparable with the experience of Adam biting the apple?) . The story has begun dramatically, with Sahir failing in four of his eight subject papers in the exam. The way the writer tells the story is worth mentioning
‘my body went cold in one of the dimly lit, dusty offices of the electrical engineering departments as I saw my sixth semester results in rolls of low quality printer paper. Every ounce of warm blood was draining out in a rush through my toes. I did not know how to react-I had never faced with such a situation in the eternity of my student life’.
In a lovely knitted storyline, the book is a sequel of events that presents the ups and downs of the lives of the protagonists and at the same time narrating the environment and campus life that embraces these five. Let us share some of these events. The four of them, somehow chit chatting with two girls, were ‘caught’ by the ‘strict’ principal in charges of ragging, in spite of the verbal denial of the two girls, is an event worth sharing. The way the writer describes the tormented students for no wrongdoing on their part arouse hate and anger to the so called guardians of the system. In the gallows, the four accused were treated with the same attention that usually rapists do get. The temptation to share a description of the ‘treatment’ from the book is irresistible-
‘After we finished sweeping, the four of us were asked to stand under a flag post at the centre of the prison. The Indian tricolor fluttered above us. We were in full view of everyone. The cops, murderers, rapists, thieves watched us with the expectant air of a circus act about to begin. We were ordered to undress. We stood stripped of our clothes and dignity in the shadow of our country’s tricolor.’
The description of their contesting the class election ,the way they took an all out effort to make their annual fest a success doesn’t make the reader feel that it is a fiction- it is all reality show here. Then there comes the exposure of principle-the circle of the ragging incident gets completed.
The writer gives a time travel experience-frequently traveling form the past to the present and back! The space is changing too-from India to the U.S.A and Europe and back. The frequent change may give birth to riddles, but the craftsmanship of the writer has made it an enjoyable read. The sense of humor of the writer is immaculate, which really provides the reader with added entertainments. Two short e mails from two friends and a burst of laughter-
I successfully cleared my PMP certification exam today.
Great news, I first read it as PIMP certification and was confused.
After graduation they get scattered in all directions. But the central force that kept them together is their outlook to life –it is a story of growing up and gradual change of their notions to life. All the tunes of their lives have wonderfully been harmonized in this book. That is evident fro part 2 and e mails they exchanged with each other, the style is innovative and I must say the writer has largely been successful in his experiment!
The cover illustration, paper quality and printing –all are simply superb. Only there are minor printing mistakes-hopefully that will be taken care of in the next edition.
And campus life should always be incomplete without love and infatuation! There are stories of love and heartbreaking-but if I reveal that too much of the story, the reader will be deprived from the pleasure of discovery of this absorbing read.
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