Monday, July 22, 2013

Saat bata Battees, Daryaganj

The train chugged off tearing me away from my family, conspiring to take me away from home. I could sense that the distance between me, inside the train and my ammai, on the platform was increasing, but the tears welling inside my eyes blurred my vision. I was heading towards Dilli, to try and learn how to become a journalist.

Delhi welcomed us with with a warm (read: extremely hot) embrace; we felt like sticky roshogullas. With the quest of finding me a ‘home’, appa and I headed towards Daryaganj, where my college - The Times School of Journalism was nestled.

Saat bata Battess (7/32), Daryaganj was ‘home’. Sneha and Tista, my two new room-mates were ‘family’. And Saat bata Battees witnessed fun, madness, tears, hunger, fights, arguments and never-ending concern. My first taste of freedom couldn’t have been better without you, girls - Tista and Sneha. Thanks for making my stay at the haunted house bearable, fun and memorable.

From accomplishing Mission Impossible - waking up Miss-Hap Tista - everyday, to wrapping up a hard day’s work with late night chats accompanied by piping hot ‘wee hours’ tea, creepy discussions and gossip sessions, there wasn’t a day (or night) at saat batta battees that would be boring.

Saat bata battees, owned by Ashok Jain , whose number on our phones was saved under names like ‘khadoos’, ‘khoosat’, ‘tharki’, did eventually become ‘home’ where we lived, laughed and cried; where we shared an experience of a lifetime; where we did learn how to become journalists.

If life at saat bata battees was fun-filled, it was also full of hospital visits, thanks to miss-Hap, Tista. Ligament tears, severe tonsils, fever, some of this and a lot of that had become regular, petty affairs for us. The aap ke zamaane mein baap ke zamane ka ‘cooler’, that promptly converted itself to a heater in summers and cooler in winters, was a convenient way of keeping thieves at bay - the noise it produced use to keep buzzing in my ears even during classes.

And talking of classes, at TSJ, the power-point presentations, meant ‘nap time’. I would snooze off to glory, in the dark room, to compensate the sleep lost to squeeze in time for our ‘chat sessions’. And then the soups, maggies and Kishan Bhaiyya’s special ‘bade cup ki coffees’ and jeera rice we relished at the canteen wouldn’t have been half as delicious without the company of Sandeep, Aaheli, Dipika, Shweta and Kumari. Thanks a bunch people for making breakfast, lunch and tea-time the most-looked forward to time of our days.

Dilli darshans with Aaheli and Sandeep, chat fights with Karthik licking our fingers and closing our eyes and going ‘ummmmm’, relishing street food near Golcha, watching movies, converting reporting assignments into fun-trips, photo sessions, beating the deadlines, surviving hunger and so much more - memories of Saat bata Battees will always remain ones that would make me break into warm smile...

Misty (Tista), Chena (Sneha), Bunny (Shweta), Jhumi (Aaheli), Sandy (Sandeep), Toothpick (Dipika), Kumari (Priyanka) and Karthik...thanks for the memories!!

PS: There’s so much about Saat bata Batees I’d like to share. here are a few more you’d maybe like to read :)