He greeted me through a pair of rusty eyes, with the panache of a seasoned steward. He was warm but hardly affectionate. Without wasting time on the conventional introductions, he frisked towards the college building. Meanwhile I poked him with a set of questions on how he found the place, are people rude to him, how nasty are the professors. He remained skillfully silent. As we passed a faintly resembling eatery, I asked him if he had adjusted to the food. He looked back and barked.
He is Cuckoo, the college-residential dog who is now a great pal or do I say the only great pal I have. We became friends whining about our daily dining. He told me he looked garishly suave four-months ago when he absconded from his place of birth. To me, he looked multiple shades darker than the dogs I had been with in Delhi. He was severely lanky for his age and breed. He told me he had lost 7 kg’s since then. i obviously believed him.
Like me, he was petrified of intellectual dogs. And here we found them in abundance, in all shapes and sizes, and fairly uniform colour. Establishing a classroom outside their own, under a lone standing tree. Thankfully, there is only one tree. They talked about the artillery of Che Guevera while we raved about the culinary of colonel Sandlers. They lamented about global pricing of crude oil, we hoped for an increase in the price of coconut oil (we bathed in).
I was more unfortunate than cuckoo when it came to suffering. Dogs were not allowed inside the hostel. Or should I say canine of the IQ equivalent to Cuckoo's. Rules were laid, highly atypical of what one associates with hostel. “kindly flush the pot after excreting” “ensure that buckets are filled with water at all times”, my roomates . People quarreled over the colour of mugs, for it had to match that of the bucket. This fixation with sanitary was to do with the lack of it. We faced water-shortage on the second day and therefore refrained from throwing spitballs at each other.
To prevent extinction of my wits, i entertained my roomies in a funny tamil accent I had unknowingly acquired. aiyaaaoh! free Kandaswamy ringtones by Vodafone to north-indians had a modest role to play. When I din’t sing I sulked. The kitty-parties had mushroomed at every corner and corner on the three floors. Competing against each other at the top of their voices. Fashion sense was critically reviewed by our in-house journalists. Language was improved through flowery-swearing. And dare you call them page three journalists!
I read out Saki to Cuckoo for he felt increasingly lonely amid a class of non-relatable people. He liked it because he could now initiate a conversation with professors out here. The ones who can never run out of time and sarcasm. For feedback, a recorded ‘big-laugh’ SFX would do the job well.
Classrooms compensated for our rickety hostel beds, but that was realized only after a week. This draws me to an end which happens to be the dawn of a fresh range of experiences. Cuckoo, hopefully, would have matured by then.