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A Few Good Things

"Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." – Ibn Battuta

A Few Good Things

Back to College – Surat Transformed

What a transformation in 22 years. Both our college – REC Surat (Now NIT Surat) and the city has transformed beyond expectations.  It feels like yesterday in 1992 when the final results came and we were all overjoyed to have completed our engineering degrees. There was always the fear of what would happen in FM6 – that was one terror of a paper but the good Dr Khajuria had ensured that there was a 100% pass – even if many did not deserve to pass.

The story of our college starts with the Icchanath (Shiva) temple at the main gate. The good lord has heard the fervent prayers of most students and ensured that the elusive 36 always happened and his aura kept the draconian ATKT’s  away . The temple is still there but the “thela wala’s” selling Sugarcane Juice , Bread Pakoda and Pan are all gone. When I think of the Bread Pakoda shop I think of the dimunitive Nara and how he managed 4 years of snacks at that joint without paying a penny during the crowded breaks.

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As you enter the college the admin department looks the same, faced by green lawns and lovely gardens. But you see an imposing building in the left. Thats the new girls hostel – a massive structure that has replaced the small building that could house 20 girls in the midst of the staff quarters. Lucky guys –  the male female ratio’s seem to be getting corrected in college finally.

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Not just the girls hostels – all the other hostels are also revamped. The old ones are abandoned or demolished. Picture below is of the old Hostel 2 Sarabhai Bhaban ( I Think) – now abandoned.

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Hostel 1 is now a fancy building with lifts. Rooms are 2 seaters and it looks like a fancy apartment complex. This massive structure accommodates all of the old Hostel 1,2 & 3 and more.

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Shanker’s canteen no longer exists and as you walk towards Gajjar Bhavan you see the new Gajjar Bhavan – another large impressive building that stretches all along the road

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Walking down the road the Physical education centre is still the same and so is the medical centre. Gandhi Bhavan is also abandoned and a new hostel with A/C rooms has come in its place. Looks like a lot of MTech / Phd students – many with family in campus.

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Our Mech department – No Change  and the labs still are the same – not many additions on the infrastructure side. I see the list of professors and a few names like Professor H.B.Naik still continue to be there. The college has added new departments in Chemical engineering.

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The canteen was empty but still serving Cutting Chai, Poha, Mitha Toast and Omlette. Inflation has caught on and the 50 Paisa cutting is now Rs 7/-. The library is still the same building. Right behind the Library is a new hostel complex coming up.  It was wonderful seeing how the college has transformed. I even spotted some peacocks in the campus.

Surat as a city has also transformed. The stretch from College to Dumas which was empty with small restaurants dotting both sides of the road has changed. This stretch and the university road stretch is full of apartments  and Malls. Its a broad 4 lane road that is being concretised.

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The city is full of flyovers – Athwa Gates, Textite Market, Adajan – all have their own large ones. Trafiic is busy but organised. You can see the Modi infrastructure charm in effect. The river looks clean and was flowing strong and vibrant along Chowpatty.

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All is vibrant and shining in Surat. The only challenge was the airport. Surat Airport sucks. Our Spice jet flight to Mumbai was delayed by 3 hrs. The airport had no electricity for 3 hrs (This when I thought Gujarat had no power cuts even in the villages), toilets were stinking. With just 2 – 3 flights a day and AAI running the show – the Airport is a sorry sight. The only disappointment from my 1 day trip.

Its always a nostalgic trip to visit your college after many years. And the 1 hr I spent between 8 – 9 AM in the midst of a rushed 1 day business trip was well worth it.

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5 Comments

  1. Subbu

    Thanks for sharing with pictures! Its wonderful to see the supposedly ‘plague-struck’ Surat transform into a KhoobSurath city.

  2. Harinath

    Anand ,
    Great to read about your experience relating to our college.This type of writing about once own experience is not that every engineer can do. That’s a gift you have since our college days. You made my 1.5 hr of one way commute much easier today.

    With best regards,
    Harinath

  3. Pol

    Thanks for sharing Vak!

  4. Kishore Kumar

    Nice to read your feelings. But the airport is now better with SpiceJet flying daily to and fro flights to Kolkata and two more locations. Very soon air India will fly to Dubai too as alleged. But the condition of Gajjar Bhavan is pretty bad, stinking toilets, lift out of order for years, mess food very inferior compared to girls hostel, Teresa Bhavan, taps not working in wash areas, college can spend a few thousands to get these right. Best is, company is paid for cleaning the premises but seen not working properly.

  5. Prashant

    Amazing blog written has refreshed memories from non mobile , non email era. While searching online, I found this article with all memories around reminding me Shankar from canteen ( a South Indian guy with small built mustache speaking broken Hindi) and a picture of old hostel building . That abandoned building where I lived with all friends walking from icchanath bus stop on long path to hostel in group of friends. Still remember the guy with egg cart, refreshing chai kitli. They seem all gone. All those trees planted on the path during that time has grown up and looks beautiful. New building looks really nice. And AC rooms? Wow, Reminds me those days stretching to 4 to 5 days without power and electricity. Damn happy for all improvements. Surely a visit to campus this time while my trip to India.
    City looks different. It seems all small movie theaters are replaced by malls and multiplexes. Double lane roads are replaced by four lanes. Walking from theater on station road by missing last bus for piplod at 12 am in night made us walk all way to icchhanth with group of friends will never be forgotten. Life was tough with limited money in pockets but still memorable.

    Hats off time. You rule. Being miles and miles away in USA, I can see and communicate with my past with this amazing technologies. A reminder of those days in eighties struggling Indian economy and struggle with lousy education. It is good to see that things have changed.

    Thanks for writing your experience. Stay in touch my fellow SVRCET ( the original).

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