Packed bags and eagerly waiting to leave for the MICA campus. My ride for the journey had arrived. I happily dragged my luggage downstairs. I was hoping we could leave early so that I could meet Priti, whom I had befriended during the interview. She is from Thane and runs organic farms. I had an immediate attraction to her even before she had uttered a word to me. It’s the kind of feeling you have when you meet someone and realize that this is going to go a long way (well, you hope it does). We were hoping if we could share the same room.
Just around lunchtime we reached the campus gate and checked in at the main entrance. I saw my name next to an unknown one. A bit disheartened that I didn’t get to share my room with Priti, I signed and headed towards the Ashoka building, room number 18. There was nothing about the place that said regular. The architecture was baffling; one could say confusing but with each passing day would agree upon impressive. First floor, to the extreme right, room ‘18’ was a good sign. On contacting the caretaker (Tikender) of the building, I placed my bags in the room and was amazed to see a television and a mini refrigerator. Everything was in twos; beds, sheets, desks, chairs, wardrobes, shoe drawers, towels, soaps, shampoos and a single shower cap. After lunch I came across Priti and her parents. Her father seemed like a very sweet person and her mother seemed more of a Malayali than a Maharashtrian. As for Priti, she had big beautiful eyes and was wearing a green shirt. Shortly after, they were off to Akshardhaam Temple at Gandhinagar. I and my father went around the campus. It was huge and green. We spotted monkeys and peacocks too.
While returning from the ‘chota canteen’, we met Nidhi (my roommate) and her father. I recognized her from the interview. She seemed like an amiable person and addressed me as ‘aap’. She appeared younger than the day of the interview, maybe because she was dressed differently and had her hair down. Together, all of us went back to the room and our fathers bid us farewell. I took pictures of the room and the bathroom as well (it had a freaking shower curtain!).
It had been raining when Priti returned. I joked about her successfully managing to bring the Mumbai rains. After we had convinced Nidhi to exchange rooms, we unpacked and neatly placed our clothes and other things in place. All settled, we headed out to meet the rest of the interns. Standing in a circle, facing each other, we introduced ourselves. There were nine of us; myself, Priti, Nidhi, Garima, Deep, Aayushi, Malvika, Aryaman and Mohit. Dinner was a loud and bustling affair. Queued with compartmentalized plates, we fetched our food and walked towards an unoccupied and isolated, corner table. The entire hall was crowded with students, animatedly discussing the day. Ours was a quiet dinner, absolutely unlike what was about to unfold in the days to come.
We took a walk around the campus after the meal and got to know each other better. While entering Ashoka, we heard someone sing from third floor. The guy sang with utter freedom and we all thought he had a nice voice (now this nice voice turns out to be significant in future).
Back in the room, I showered and laid out my clothes for tomorrow’s class. I lend Priti my press and had this urge to be unconditionally nice to her. She pleased me a lot. I liked her from the very beginning. Even though I was tired as hell, I couldn’t go off to sleep.excitement of the next day and what it would bring along made me giddy and also the fact that my hair was wet. I slowly dozed off thinking about the day. About how a guy approached Nidhi, asking for rolling paper and how she came upto us absolutely clueless about it, exactly when we were discussing vegetation and weed!