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BHU Visit 

14th March 2002,

I had been to BHU last week. Chemical engg. department had organized an Alumni Meet. I went to attend it and re-visit Banaras after 16 years. Bhavnesh also came from Pune. In fact we went together. It was a nice experience to visit Banaras after so long. We visited all the regular hang outs to relive our BHU days. We spent 4 days there in Banaras and felt that 4 days were just not enough. BHU & Banras remain the same. Nothing seems to have changed. We relished the mess food and ate as if we'll have famine for next few years. Specially to mention Aloo Sookha and Chawal fry. There are some changes nowdays, like a fridge is kept in the Morvi Hostel canteen. At our time Limbdi hostel had the canteen (not Morvi).

The colour of the hostel walls are still same and even the colour scheme is also same. As soon as you enter the hostels you see the towels & undies hanging on the cloth lines.

Now the number of two wheelers have increased. The bikes are more trendy, not the regular ones which we used to have. Students have their own PCs in hostel rooms, shared by 4-5 students. There is no student union in BHU, so no more sine-die closures. Now ICL 1904, then 3rd generation computer which used punch cards is replaced by HP machine in the Computer Center. Each departments have 15-20 PCs for students. Teachers also have PCs on which they mostly play FreeCell. There are no internet connections yet, which students can use. Each hostel has the push button phones, which function. Mostly kept busy by students receiving the calls from family & friends (from WH also). KP is still the same. Birla temple is still the place to hang around. Tennis court, Squash courts are still the same minus those floodlights in tennis court. Shivaji Gymnasium and J&K badminton hall are still the same.

Banaras as the city also looked same except for lot of lights which have been put up at Ghats. One can not go for boating in the nights, legally. We did mange to sneak and hire a boat for taking us around for an hour at 11.00 pm in the night. But there are policemen around who if enforce the law. If boatman is caught taking people for a boat ride after 8.00 pm then he has to cough up good sum of money. Now there is a electric crematorium which functions at Harishchandra Ghat.

Godowlia is still the same, with those shops for Thandai & Bhang. We did have Thandai with Bhang on the eve of Maha-Shivratri. Those narrow lanes of Kashi Vishwanath temple are still the same with cows at couple of places blocking the way. Sankatmochan Hanumaan temple has all those monkeys around, who still dare to snatch away laddos from you. We tasted the food at Marwari food joint. Not to forget we ate those Launglatas also. Pahalwaaan's shop at Lanka still looks the same. Mochu's shop has undergone some change in that the structure is now pucca in place of earlier straw roof hut.

BHU visit gave us a chance to relive our days. Ideally we would have liked to spend the night in the hostel, but we did not have time. Something which we realised was how we have changed in these 16 years. Remember those student days when eating out in Diamond Hotel, a treat in Clarks Hotel was the in-thing. Now when we were in BHU, all we wanted was to eat those Aloo Sookha & Chawal Fry, Daal fries in the mess. We found it much more tastier than Clarks food, which is a pass now.

These 4 days were not sufficient to re-live the 4 years which we spent in BHU & Banaras. But one has to return to the reality, so I am back in the usual rut of daily chores.

Shiv Shukla