Lost in Chandigarh

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Well, I don’t remember exactly the sequence of events, but I don’t know how I missed to write about this one. We almost made headlines some years back when I was in college, NIT Kurukshetra. It was a college tour to Chandigarh, a part of our Environmental Studies curriculum. The whole of electrical batch packed in 2 buses.

I don’t even remember the names of people who were involved. As far as I can remember there were 6 of us. Rishabh, Kapi, Vivek, Amit, Rahul Singh and Me. We had already decided that we would somehow escape from the group and have beer even before we started. It was a hot afternoon. A bottle of beer was the need of the hour. For lunch, we were given an hours time. As soon as we heard that, we rushed towards a place where we could get all we wanted. It wasn’t long enough before we had the bottles in our hands. Some “aloo parathas” and “samosas” was all that we could manage in an hour, we thought. After 4-5 gulps of the liquid, all of us went into a mild state of trance, out in the air, on the streets of Chandigarh.

The next thing I remember was a policeman standing besides me and staring at me. We never knew that it was illegal to drink in the open in Chandigarh. We never bothered to inquire. Then we could also see a bigger crowd surrounding us. I could also see some people with cameras pointed at us, perhaps the press. And suddenly the bottles were snatched from our hands and we were asked to follow a policeman who escorted us to the control room, saving us from the press and the people. Phew, I could see all of us sweating profusely now. The lunch break was almost over and we were quite far from the group and our professors. We knew we would never be able to make it on time. Thoughts about getting thrown out of college, parents wrath and making the headlines made us nervous. And finally, we managed to call some more people from the group who came in time to deal with the police. Sagar and Dheeraj rushed to the spot in 15 minutes.

By that time, the police were completing the paper works, inquiring about us, taking down our addresses. When it was Kapi’s turn, I couldn’t control my laughter. He started mentioning some imaginary address, a strange address, of-course non-existent. They had also confiscated out ID cards, which was returned to us after-wards. After all this, we were taken to a hospital where a doctor asked us some questions and we answered (don’t remember what). He then announced that we were not drunk. This was all a part of the process just to make sure that we don’t land up in tomorrow’s newspapers. The policemen were very co-operative and Sagar and Dheeraj also helped a lot in finally taking us back to the group. And the excuse was, “Lost in Chandigarh“. No one was cross-questioned.

When we returned to our hostels, there was a sense of pride for all that we went through. We were the talk of the hostel for that day. That day, it was fun.I think we had some more beer when we were back.

But, when I think of it now, I feel sad. I am sure that it could have been worse. That was 4 years ago, and we were just engineering students. But for our luck, this incident was not somehow publicized enough to be known to our profs, parents and others, and we were saved.

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