I am always careful when it comes to dealing with Mumbai University. It often makes me feel like the silly kid who irons his fingers to see if they get smoother. And then does it again.
Now, there is this archaic document called the migration certificate. You are required to produce it when you switch universities. So, you remain a student of University A even 30 years later, by which time you don't know where your degree lies (if you collected it in the first place). That you are not allowed into campus buildings is another story altogether. And that you have no access to its library is yet another.
To obtain this treasured scrap of paper, you fill a four page form that is processed by the college. A sheaf of miscellaneous documents accompanies the application. You hotfoot it to the university campus, trying to get there before 1 or after 1:30 or before 2:30. If you are not as unfortunate as I am (or more punctual), you shall be one of the privileged ones in the "accessible" line.
You reach the head of the line, only to be told you're at the wrong counter. Then you sigh and join the right line. Please note that the person at the counter will have a sudden urge to clear out her cupboard just when you begin to think this is the end of it. Once she makes sure she can't send you back because you attached the right things (in the right order) with the right stamps, she hands over a tiny receipt and asks you to come back in eight days.
Eight days later, I go expectantly...there are few people around. The woman at the counter looks for my form but never finds it. I am apprehensive...I wouldn't put it past MU to ask me to go back and redo the whole thing because they lost my form. Finally, she finds my certificate, and makes me sign on the receipt book itself.
I am disappointed. I have made a substantial contribution to the raddiprofit of this university. And they still skimp on the paper. My migration certificate is smaller than a stationery shop receipt!
In three hours, I shall leave Bhubaneswar. I'm waiting to see the Bombay coastline, eat pav bhaji, sabudanakhichdi and batatavada (not alu chop!), but I'll miss Orissa. My bicycle rides around Bhubaneswar constituted some of the most exhilarating and euphoric moments of my life.
The day (and moment) the BMM results were declared will remain etched in my heart forever. I was on a cycle, struggling to balance a whole bag of vegetables, trying to buy paneer while protecting myself from the rain. In the midst of this confusion, I received an SMS with my result. As I cycled towards the sweet shop, past BDAChhak, I could only think of one thing - balancing a load of bhaji while your results are declared is not the best way to do things, but it sure is the funniest. To celebrate, I started singing at the top of my voice in English. And ate a whole lot of chhenapoda!
Yesterday's trip to Dhauli was also fabulous. The paddy fields flanking NH - 203 make it a wonderful cycling trail. More on it when I'm back home...
While we were on our way down, Amanda fell for a monkey and insisted on being photographed with it. The intensity of the rain had ebbed and we walked up to Hathigumpha on the other side of the road again. Then we went higher. We reached this plateau where we did some crazy posing with raincoats and umbrella. We walked down towards Ganesh Gumpha, ending up on this isolated trail.
Now the brain called for nourishment. My taste buds were clamouring for warm and crisp singadas. Amanda was thinking on similar lines, so we ran out of Udayagiri like 10-year-olds on an overdose of testosterone. At Khandagiri Chhak, we looked around, but couldn't find any singadas but we ate some nice alu chops. Further down the road, near Jagamara, we stopped again. This time, the vendor had a selection of vadas - he had singada, dal vada, alu chop and potol chop (wish Manguli were here :P). I tried some of the singada (which was ok) and potol chop (which tasted nice). As far as singadas go, I haven't had a single decent one ever since I got to Orissa.
Near Gandamunda Chhak, we met Saswat...safe in "rainycoat and rainypants". Amanda was shivering from getting drenched (a little heavier and she would have put Sridevi to shame). Ever the chivalrous guy, he gallantly offered her his rainwear (I prodded him to). In a short while, we stopped for chai in plastic cups. All the priming had prepared me for the grand finale - gupchup (wink). At Lingaraj Vihar in Pokhariput, we found a gupchup guy who had braved the rain. He was not great, but who cares when gupchup beckons!
Gupchup done, I was back home. I practised for a bit and then fell asleep after a boring dinner. But the afternoon fun overshadowed it all.