Monday, 14 March, 2011

More on the horse...from the horse-rider's mouth

Just returned home from a fun evening with Arun Kaul and his wife Neelam. Reminisced about things and horses over a few glasses of red wine. Arun has shot into stardom over his equestrian accomplishments, but he had a candid confession to make. This was not mentioned in the Madhouse because it remained unknown till today.
When the horse was found and brought to H4, the obvious task was to look for someone who knew how to ride horses. Ravi Tilak, the then wannabe musician was one who qualified. Tilak was tall, fair and handsome. Unlike most IITans, he knew how to play the tabla, drive a green Fiat and date women.To top all this, he also knew how to ride a horse. But there was a caveat to this. Tilak could only ride horses that were meant to be ridden.
The horse that Kaul found was abandoned, sickly with a visible rib cage, sans a saddle, a bridle, reins and neighs and maybe did not have even horseshoes that could harbinger some good luck for the riders. Ergo, Tilak could not ride the horse that did not want to get rid. Can you ask an accomplished tabalchi to do a "Dha tirikat dhoom, takninadhin dha dha dha" with a sand bag? So Tilak departed and Kaul had to move in. Advantage Kaul was that he knew as much about riding horses as that horse knew about getting ridden. There was a compatible chemistry between the two, never mind the fact that Kaul knew less about organic chemistry ( or as much as the horse knew...depends on how you look at it) than he knew about matters equestrian.They both could start from ground zero... the rider and the ridee.
After a few trials and more errors, the equilibrium was reached. Horse performed horsely duties and became Tilak -worthy. But it was too late for Tilak. Horse was identified as a distinct Kaul-ean. Getting ridden, getting parked in cycle sheds and getting photographed for a future bestseller were acts Kaulean and un-Tilak-ean. Thus, history was enacted with the Kaul version as we know it. It was powerful enough to induce folks to re-enact this scene after 35 years. What remained unknown till today is the fact that Ravi Tilak stopped short of a shot at fame a la his more famous namesake of the Lokmanya flavour. Who would have guessed that knowing something well is actually a disadvantage? In this case, Tilak's knowledge of horse-rising did him in.

Arun Kaul replies.......


Two things:

First: The horse did have shoes even if his rider did not!

Second: If you remember your course in industrial psychology, there is a condition called Negative transfer of training where an expert has to first unlearn what he knows before he can learn a new skill. So the deck was definitely stacked against Ravi. Moreover, anybody who is struggling so long against the ogre of Organic chemistry, develops a fierceness of purpose against which a mere horse has no chance of bucking. If I can't master Organic chemistry, so what, I can definitely master a dumb animal. By the way, the horse did not know any chemistry organic or otherwise. I had from the horse's mouth when I fed him his jaggery after every ride back to the hostel.


Sunday, 20 February, 2011


Featuring a series of short stories, both published and not, in the Madhouse. Stories will keep getting added here at regular intervals.

During our times, the price of Panama cigs in the canteen used to be….8 paise for 1, 15p for 2 and 20p for 3. Our friend Tongaonkar from H3 aka Tonya used to go the canteen, put 5p on the counter and tell the canteen boy. “Woh teesra panama de”. (give me the 3rd Panama). This story has a sequel. The canteen boy wised up to Tonya's antics and told him flatly that since he was buying just one, he had to pay 8p. The wiser-than-canteen-boy Tonya then bought 3 cigs for 20p and told the canteen boy that he was returning 2. Will the boy please refund 15p? It took the canteen boy, a whole semester to figure out how he was getting "panama-ed" by Tonya.


Tonya and his friend went to Yadav dairy farm for some vadas. They told the bhayya…”do plate vada de yaar.” The bhayya told them…”Thoda wait karo. Banane ka hai.” At this Tonya exclaimed….”Banane ka nahin. Batate ka mangta hai.”


Tonya is jogging and he accidentally bumps into a guy and falls down. The guy holds his hand out to Tonya to help him up and says, ”I’m sorry.”
Tonya takes the hand, shakes it while sprawled on the ground, and says, “hi Sorry. I’m Tongaonkar.” 


Time: evening
Place: YP-Yadav Dairy Farm
Hero of the story: Bhaiya.
Tonya approaches Bhaiya. Bhaiya (with hope in his eyes) says "bolo saab bhel"
Tonya says "bhel" and walks away.


And Arvind Kher aka Jack was the guy who always wore multi-colored short shorts – very pseud. So pseud that I would do a double take when he spoke Marathi.
He is also the guy who joined Nilekani at Patni Computers and they both encouraged me to join that company.
We had a tiny EP skit around Jack. People are on a flight and some says – Hi Jack! Every body ducks. And then Jack responds with “Hi Robert!”
Ghoda on Jack


Balya once gifted me with a bowl shaped object which was crudely shaped and for a long time, I thought that it was handcrafted pottery coloured white/cream to make it look like bone. I used this as an ash tray for over a year before Balya revealed that it was indeed bone. It was a cranium of someone's skull that he picked up on one of his treks from Bangladesh. I spooked when I heard this, as did all my wing-mates who used the same ashtray. Nevertheless, I did carry it back to Hyderabad with me after graduation and committed the mistake of telling my mom what it was. Within an hour, the ashtray had disappeared. Literally, this news "blew my mind".
Bakul on Balya


Not to forget the guy Shashank offered a lift on his bullet only to be told "Thanks, main jaldi mein hoon".
Baps on Shashank

Friday, 18 February, 2011

Click Click Click

This story was neither published in the Madhouse, nor is sourced from the huge arsenal of unpublished stories of the Madhouse. Technically, this occurred AFTER the stars in the story had graduated. My friend Makarand Karkare posted a story about cameras on his blog  and this reminded me of a story featuring Ghoda, who at some point in history was referred to as Ashvin Sanghvi.

After 3-4 years of courtship, countless hours on the phone, hand-in-hand walks by the Powai lake and gazing at romantic sunsets, Ghoda decided to get married to his lady love in June 1983. I received the invitation card in Hyderabad barely 2 days before his D-day, accompanied by a terse note which said, "You have to come. No cranky gifts and no pranks PLEAAAAASE." I laughed at the recollection of how we had harangued Ghoda and Ghodi on their engagement day barely a year before. For starters, we presented Ghodi with a whip. (chaabuk) We then carried in huge, massive gift-wrapped boxes which had absolutely nothing in it. We then got in a girl freshy and a Prof's 10 month old baby to walk in during the ceremony and create a ruckus about how the philandering Ghoda had cheated the hapless damsel and left his kid in the lurch. This act was topped by an unknown PG masquerading as an Indian Express reporter who had come to interview an IIT couple who had decided to tie the knot.
It was entirely possible that Ghoda had sent me the invitation since he had to, but had delayed it suitably to make it difficult for me to make it. In any case, he had managed to make it impossible for me to plan a mega-prank of setting off fireworks in the marriage hall or a series of alarm clocks in his bridal chamber. Or spike guest's drinks with Bhang. The short deadline also made it difficult for me to call up Birjoo and Vijay and plan out a wedding gift. STD had just come in but guys were generally away at work till late. While skimming through an issue of India Today, my eyes caught an ad for a new type of a camera called Hot Shot. It was touted as a single click camera with a prominent "Just aim and shoot" tagline. It looked sleek and cute and I thought it would be a handy contraption on a honeymoon where Ghoda would not have time to focus and adjust and manipulate aperture speeds. Price was a slightly steep Rs. 200 and the "going rate" for a gift in those days varied from Rs. 11 to Rs. 51, depending on one's proximity to the giftee. But time was short, Ghoda was a dear friend and I had to atone for the fracas I had created on his engagement.
Gift wrapped Hot Shot and I, both made it in time for the wedding. In the hall, I first ran into Birjoo and Vijay. I had written down their names on the gift along with mine since I wanted to split the tab-after all, I was just a few months into my work phase and had not yet started earning money. Before I could even say a "Hi guys", Birjoo went ballistic. "This Ghoda is such a moron! Vijay and I went all over town and decided to buy a Hot Shot camera for him from all of us and guess what? When we presented it to him, he tells us that he already bought one for himself just yesterday." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Vijay's eyes went to the object in my hand and he guessed correctly..."Oh No! You don't mean that you too..." He didn't need to complete the sentence. My nod confirmed everything.
Next scene: Birjoo gesticulating to Ghoda on the stage as he was shaking the hundredth hand of the evening. Like Ghoda, Birjoo was a mime master and a Dumb Charades partner of Ghoda in the hostel team. While he was still shaking a hand, Ghoda's expressions changed quick and fast when he deciphered Birjoo's actions from 25 feet away. His look said..."Oh No! Camera.....Bakul got....It's the same...a HOT SHOT." Abandoning the hand, Ghoda quickly ambled over to the edge of the stage as if he were going to jump down and smash me to the ground. Mercifully, he stopped at the edge, slapped his forehead and then gesticulated with a forefinger. I was not sure if this was worse punishment than meted out to him during his engagement. We consoled each other with "wise men think alike" kind of sagely mantras. We later counseled Ghoda to open a photography store outside his house and earn some money. Unfortunately for me, Vijay and Birjoo were more gujju than me. They did not buy my accounting theory that they should pay 2/3rds of the cost of my camera and I should pay 1/3rd of theirs. We are not sure whose camera finally made it to Ooty on the honeymoon.

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011

Selva-the junglee

If you've read Madhouse, you're not likely to have missed several amusing anecdotes featuring a Malaysian named Selvarasu Supaiah, written mainly by Satish "Satkya" Joshi. Selva was darkish and bearded and must surely have been a zoo curator in his previous birth.
He was forever seen roaming around with both dead and live snakes, a monitor lizard, a kingfisher, a massive fish that he had caught at Powai and he occasionally had issues with pigeons in his wing, which he settled by roasting them for dinner. Selva departed from IIT forever in 1979 I think and there was a huge farewell party in his NWSF (north wing second floor) where country liquor was served in buckets. Selva left, but left behind enough memories and enough stories of his escapades that found their way into the book. In those remote bleak and black & white days, inland letters initially helped people stay in touch. But people moved too frequently and inland letters often "bounced". Though a large part of the world was recaptured with the internet, Selva remained elusive....not even trips to KL by many could sniff out Selva.
Imagine our delight therefore when another elusive but an equally legendary Vasant "Faatu" Joshi "fished" out Selva in Sungai Pelek Malaysia!! Ironically, the fisher had become a fishee. :-) Rediscovered Selva is still to learn that his antics have been immortalized in a book and that a few hundred souls await to welcome him back into a new virtual H4 that has been recreated in cyberspace.
While rummaging through our dossier of unpublished stories, I discovered several featuring Selva and have selected one that not only features Selva but also features an important, frequent, regular hostel activity that has gone surprisingly unreported in our otherwise impeccable collection of nostalgia.viz. the water fight stories. Looking back, it was teen-aged hooliganism where someone started by drenching someone else with a bucket of water, for no rhyme or reason. For a simple "Just like that".  An enraged Drenchee then avenged the humiliation by moving his bucket into the battleground as a drencher. A seemingly harmless spat between a few juveniles then morphed itself into an army operation which was restructured and fought along wing lines and with strategies and tactics. This snippet is also from Satkya. Read on...

Ha! I remember that water fight. Since we (North wing 2nd floor) were furthest from the point at which it started - we had plenty of time to prepare. We had a line of buckets collected from every room on one side (12 or 14 altogether) filled with HOT SCALDING water - the heater in the bogs was working for a change. We had a hose of our own connected to the taps ready in Selva's hand with some one standing by the tap to open it the moment Selva gave the signal. Mittal (I think it was Mittal - or perhaps Saheb Patil I am not sure) and I were on duty standing by the buckets of water ready to pitch in. One tall Bawa (I forgot his name) from the 1st floor came up and joined us when he found out that we were ready with a battle plan. His own wing mates had chickened out and locked themselves in their rooms instead of retaliating which he couldn't take. He had come equipped with a long broom - the kind that has a long about (4 ft) bamboo for a handle. We all lurked around the corner near Potty's room and in both the boggs with only Selva - the general (the battle plan was his design) standing at the head of the stairs with the pipe in his hand.
Pretty soon accompanied by loud hoops the triumphant gang came up the stairs - so far in all other wings they had vanquished all that came in their way and were expecting nothing different here. On seeing them on the last flight of stairs - Selva roared - with that the tap was opened with a jet of water from his hose hitting K.V. Rao (who was one of the leaders of the invaders) squarely in the eye, that tall Bawa (whose name I forgot) jumped in waving his broom wildly from side to side, I, Mittal (or Saheb) and a couple of guys (again I am sure who) started throwing the buckets of hot water at the folks on the landing - for a while there was complete mayhem and chaos with no one sure about who they were fighting with nor I guess did it matter the idea was to generally get wet, get others wet. I hope my memory serves me right and I am not making a mistake but even the usually gentle and well behaved Shoeb was yelling as loudly as Selva and was as busy throwing buckets of water around.

Saturday, 12 February, 2011

"Slippery" Ghoda

A story by Vasu which did not figure in the Madhouse but is lined up for the sequel.

It was not only in classrooms and laboratories we imbibed top quality education. IIT administration left many activities for the students to manage all on their own. For instance, the management of the hostel including the tough task of managing a mess for two hundred and fifty students was left an elected hostel council of teenaged students. Legendary Boss Patil was G Sec and he was away one particular Sunday when the mess workers were in one of their non-cooperative moods. The remaining members of the council apart from me were three Ashvins - Ashvins-Iyengar, Sanghvi and Hattangadi only known as  Fish, Ghoda and Hats respectively.

IIT had a quack lawyer. The short pot-bellied white haired, bespectacled Hegde who spoke nonstop when he was not chewing paan. To get a word in, we had to offer him paan and speak while he chewed it. So that Sunday we called Hegde to see if we could issue a memo to the defiant mess workers. We called him when he was not chewing paan. He babbled nonstop about the mess workers being rascals, that they should be taught a lesson, and the only way to teach them a lesson would be by driving down straight to IIT’s labour lawyer Karwe’s house in Dadar and seek his counsel. As it turned out, Hegde was a master fixer. It was Sunday, but he got IIT’s black ambassador sanctioned to take us to Karwe’s house as late as 10 PM. He could not get the car to pick us up from H4. We had to walk to the guest house and wait for Hegde and the car to pick us up. We watched in amusement as Hegde signed a lot of papers and wrote down odometer readings from the car and took down our names and made us sign. Penny wise IIT was wise enough to save the additional one kilometer of fuel that would have been expended in picking us up from H4.
But the equally pound foolish IIT was foolish enough to send a car to Dadar to ask a lawyer a simple question.

Hegde did have his own agenda. Y Point paan was stale, there was a good paanwalla in Dadar. The three Ashvins and I trooped into the car along with Bakul. Bakul was omnipresent and always tagged along wherever we went on hostel work. Fish needed him for his endless supply of cigarettes and we all needed him for the free entertainment that he often provided.

The driver knew the exact way to Karwe’s house in Dadar, including all the shortcuts. He knew equally well the fabled paan shop in Dadar. Clearly, the duo of driver and Hegde had been there and done that a countless times before. Karwe was fair, fat and bald and operated out of his flat. I wondered if there was something about labour law that made all labour lawyers go bald. This was the first time Hegde had brought students along with him to Karwe. Karwe wanted to know what was so serious and grim about today in particular. When Fish started narrating, Karwe cut him short and asked a simple question, “Is it a mess workers’ problem?” When we all nodded a yes, Karwe told us to sit down and motioned with his hand to Hegde to start writing down a notice he would dictate.

He said, “I keep telling IIT to break the mess workers’ heads. But they don’t listen. The British have taught us a good thing. Divide and Rule.” He stopped to check if we were impressed. There was nothing to see. He went on.

 You have two messes, right?”  We did not see the connection, but said yes, we had an A mess which was for veggies and a B mess which was for non-veggies.

“Let us give a notice to Group A mess and let us not issue a notice to Group B mess. Let us divide and rule them. When the Group A mess people protest, we can book them for indecent behaviour.” He paused to look at us and see if we were spellbound by his shrewd genius yet. Our reaction totally rattled him.

“Sir”, we said, “It is not Group A mess. It is just A mess. Likewise with B Mess.” He lost it totally by this sudden correction by teenagers.

“Don’t talk useless points”, he thundered. “Judges don’t understand A and B mess. They understand groups. You leave all this to me.” We were nonplussed again. “What judges? We are just issuing a simple notice, right? Is it heading for the courts already?” Karwe’s answer was a silent scowl and he turned to Hegde to start dictating the notice.

From amongst us, Ghoda was totally silent and sour. He was not his usual garrulous, cheerful self. He fidgeted. He had been forced on this legal excursion and had to stand up his beloved on their full moon night’s date.
So while Karwe rambled on about his mantras of the clever Brits, Ghoda, still sullen, scanned Karwe’s modest drawing room décor. On the side table, Ghoda’s eyes caught a pair of miniature handcrafted mojdis of the kind sold in Mahabaleshwar. His hands followed his eyes. The shoe was barely enough to take in Ghoda’s index finger while his forefinger prised the other shoe’s opening apart a bit. Soon Karwe’s miniature shoes were being walked by miniature legs that were Ghoda’s fingers. Lost in deep thought and oblivious to the real world of Group A and Group B messes, Ghoda’s fingers walked and danced. It was clearly a fox trot jig that his fingers were performing.
Ghoda would have been waltzing or fox-trotting with his lady love, had this blasted Hegde not had an urge to eat paan in Dadar.

Divider and ruler was in his second sentence of dictation when he paused at the sight before him. By now, the Braizilian Samba was in progress. Karwe paused, thinking his deafening silence would return Ghoda from mushland. No luck. Karwe reluctantly continued his dictation and was into barely the next sentence when he paused again. Ghoda had taken over Karwe’s drawing room wall. The shoes were walking up the wall like Ghoda climbed rocks. Halt.
Jump. Halt again and jump again. Karwe was distracted and fumbling. It was bad enough that A mess had become Group A mess but by now, it was Group Group A mess. He finished hurriedly. Ghoda returned to terra firma sheepishly when he was nudged by Hats.

Karwe’s daughter came in to serve us water and just as she was departing with an empty tray, Ghoda jumped up and followed her into the house. We were shocked. Had Ghoda realized that it was quits with his beloved and was he now hitting on Karwe Jr? Karwe, despite his weight, jumped up too.

“Hello” he barked at Ghoda, “What are you doing? Where are you going?” Ghoda held up a pinky. Livid Karwe personally escorted Ghoda to the loo and waited outside to ensure that Ghoda did not do anything he should not.

We ensured that Hegde stayed shut up with a monster paan in his mouth and we laughed all the way back. We tore up the notice which was just a bad note anyway, and continued to suffer the mess workers.


Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

Cakes and Cokes-gujju style

This story did not make it in the finals of the Madhouse selection due to space constraints. though it was well received when first posted. We will re-run some of these for some fun. Names of the girls in the story have been changed.

Bhavna Patel, daughter of a zillionaire, had caught Shashank’s fancy. She hung out with a lacklustre sidey named Heena Shah who doubled as her chaperone. How should our intrepid Shashank woo Bhavna with eagle-eyed Heena watching their every move? Elementary my dear Watson! Plant a counter-chaperone on Heena to distract her. So how did Shashank do it? Equally elementary my dear etc.: find a Heena equivalent among the guys. A lacklustre sidey who would act as if he’s doubling as a chaperone too. And who fit the bill? Elementary etc. etc : Bakul Desai was coerced into counter-chaperoning Shashank. This arrangement worked for the first thirty minutes. Shashank regaled Bhavna with his knowledge of Hindi music, paintings, poetry, literature, art, culture and coordinate geometry. But alas! Within thirty minutes of fielding Heena and her gujju accent the hapless Bakul SOS-ed for Soumitra to relieve him.

All this was happening during the happening annual festival Mood-Indigo where our hostel 4 was running the cafeteria. Yours truly, as the canteen secretary, was making tea out of pulverized sand and sandwiches out of hastily borrowed butter from hostel 2 across the road. Into the café walked Shashank and Bhavna with chaperone and counter chaperone in tow. Soumitra, acceding to Bakul’s summons, hotfooted it there to double as joint counter chaperone.

Shashank, in another bid to impress Bhavna told her, ”your dad, with all his zillions leaking out of his nostrils, cannot buy Coke (this one was in 1978 when George Fernandez had banned Coca Cola from India and had offered Thums Up and Campa Cola as a substitute). My friend Bakul, who operates this café, has some coke smuggled in from Kathmandu! he also has some delicious pastries!” The impressed Bhavna almost reached out to kiss Shashank, but first raised half an inquisitive eyebrow about pastries. Understanding quickly enough that he was treading on Gujjuland, Shashank did an impromptu translation. Pastries, he explained to the nonplussed Gujjus, are nothing but tiny cakes.

Thus it came to pass that while Shashank the woo-er and Bhavna the woo-ee and Bakul/Heena/Soumitra as the chaperon-ers/ees were savouring banned Coke and delectable pastries, Heena, all wide eyed innocence and freckles, with sweetness oozing from her lips asked a simple English question in gujju: “who paid for this cacks and cocks?”
Soumitra yielded first. He broke into a fit of laughter while he was drinking Coke/Cock and he thought it necessary to release it from his nostrils and spray it all over Heena’s new expensive gown that her “pappa” had bought for her. I managed self-control approximately two seconds longer than Soumitra. On account of the fact that I was suffering from a bad cold, I had to open my mouth, and my more powerful spray caught Bhavna in her eye and a bewildered Shashank on his chin. Shashank the tube light released the coke/cock on woo-ee and chaperon-ee a good twenty minutes later, while we were walking them back to their hostel. They had used up their hankies by then.
- Bakul

Saturday, 5 February, 2011

Security OR Screwity?

After the publication of Madhouse, I got a call from a 4th year undergraduate student named Antariksh Bothale, who was writing a piece on “need for security” in the Raintree-IIT’s magazine. Antariksh was appalled at what we did then 30 years ago. Did we really go vroom-vrooming on our mobikes all over the campus? Did we really have those midnight swims in the prohibited Vihar lake? Did we really rear horses in our hostel grounds and take them to the lectures with us? And who allowed an elephant into the campus? Antariksh is an angry young man who bemoans the tight-and senselessly so as we shall soon see-security system prevailing in IITB today.
Agreed that some of us did live dangerously, wilder and wackier than seen elsewhere. And inspired by a colourless, internetless, chatroomless world, we had to seek our chills and thrills on unwalled terraces, crocodile infested lakes, steep hills and noisy muffler less mobikes. But the specifics of what Antariksh goes on to write about today’s state of affairs are shocking to say the least. Restricted movements, particularly at nights, no trekking, no late night outside campus jaunts, no CYCLING fast. Yes, one cannot cycle (the pedaled motorless version) fast. Mobikes are banned. And to think that we had mobike races with a Dean of Student Affairs (DOSA) and Security Officer Singh in our times! But what took the cake was this snippet…
For example, the latest circular to students points out that, “Roaming/sitting in the dark or isolated places with opposite sex during unearthly hours is a serious offence”
To top this, there was a news report in today’s Hindustan Times which says:
Students caught holding hands on the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) campus have had to cough up Rs 500 as fines for the past few months. The institute's security officers allegedly fine students even for riding their bicycles too fast and for hanging out late on the campus.  
"There have been instances when we have been fined or our ID cards taken away for something as trivial as hanging out late in the night on campus. All this was never an issue before," said a student, who did not want to be named.
Upset with the strict policing, students have written to Prakash Gopalan, dean of student affairs, and plan to discuss the issue in their student council meet next week. Gopalan, however, played down the issue. “If students want to sensationalise such a trivial issue, I don't think the administration will be dragged into it,” he said.
The institute, which has 8,000 people residing on its 550-acre residential campus in Powai, has tightened security after the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. A retired army officer heads the institute's security since last March.
A Rs. 500 fine for holding hands??? In this day and age? In an institute whose world famous cultural festival Mood Indigo has contests like “Kismat Konnection (find your soulmate)” and “Jodi No. 1” and the like? Surely, not all would agree with this kind of a restrictive approach. Is it the case then, that a whimsical security honcho issues these moralizing diktats and others who can meddle don’t want to? Heck! Had these rules existed In our time, there are some guys who have paid an arm and a leg for holding hands. And this rule would have been defeated hands down. Be that as it may, this issue is worthy of a debate. Not merely from the ridiculousness of the rules per se, but also from the possible debilitating impact this could have on a person’s general all-round development. What could be worse than imposing a set of rules that exist in a single person’s mindset? Rules that are not congruent with today’s existing standards of morality? Rules that will surely inspire rebellion?
Antariksh’s closing comments are noteworthy: 
Let’s come to face it: students here are adults. As a residential,educational institution, it is IITB’s responsibility to ensure their well-being. However, it does not mean that unnecessary restrictions be put on them. Parents might want but can’t expect the authorities to keep a watchful eye on their kid every living moment, and frankly, the authorities can’t and shouldn’t give in to such demands. We would be glad to have some breathing space — we are old enough to be allowed to play with fire. IITB has flourished in a period where students were freer. When we chuckle over passages of the book by Bakul Desai, but now we also step back and think about how many of those things Bakul could have done in the present day campus. We are not as mature as we would want ourselves to be, but we are certainly capable of making informed choices, and we strive for a campus where we are allowed to make those choices.